Group Title: Annales Zoologici (submittal)
Title: A new species of Petalacmis firefly (Coleoptera: Lampyridae)...
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 Material Information
Title: A new species of Petalacmis firefly (Coleoptera: Lampyridae)...
Series Title: Annales Zoologici (submittal)
Physical Description: Book
Creator: Branham, M.A.
Affiliation: University of Florida -- Entomology and Nematology Department
Publication Date: 2006
Subject: Coleoptera   ( lcsh )
Spatial Coverage: Bolivia
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Bibliographic ID: UF00083956
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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Submitted to: Annales Zoologici

Department of Entomology and
University of Florida
P.O. Box 110620
Gainesville, FL 32611-0620




Department of Entomology and Nematology
University of Florida
P.O. Box 110620
Gainesville, FL 32611-0620


A new species of Petalacmis firefly, P. triplehorni, is described from Bolivia and

compared to the other two described species in this genus. Illustrations of the male dorsal

and ventral habitus are included as well as a key to the known species of this genus.

Key Words: Lampyridae, Petalacmis, Lampyrini


The genus Petalacmis is an interesting and unique genus in the family Lampyridae due to

its a distinctive antennal morphology. Members of this genus have only nine

antennomeres with the ninth being very elongate and paddle-shaped. Petalacmis is

restricted to South America and presently consists of two species, P. praeclarus, known

from Brazil, Bolivia and Peru and P. wittmeri known only from Brazil. Here a third

species, P. triplehorni is described; it is only known from Bolivia.


Petalacmis triplehorni Branham, new species
(Figs. 1,2,3,4)

Description.- Male: General coloration of specimens: antennae light brown turning to a

dark tan towards the apex of the ninth antennomere; eyes black, head dark brown with

mouthparts tan; pronotum yellowish-tan with a dark brown to black discal region;

scutellum and legs tan; elytra dark brown.

Length: 5.0mm, maximum width 0.7mm.

Head: hidden from above by pronotum; eyes large, not ventrally contiguous; mandibles

of the specialized type found in Lampyrini; maxillary palps 4-segmented; apex of 4th

segment narrowing to form a conical spike-like projection; antennae 9-segmented, with

the last antennomere greatly elongated and blade-like; antennomeres 3-8 wider than long,

with 5 and 7 being wider than 6 and 8, with the width of 7 and 8 approximating the width

of 9.

Pronotum: wider than long, dorsal surface moderately punctate and covered with medium

length setae; anterior edge is slightly pointed, sides roughly parallel, base emarginate

with posterior corners and medial edge extending farther back than the rest of the hind

margin; all external borders curved upwards, forming a depression between the disc and

pronotal borders; discal region is moderately punctate, sub-rectangular.

Scutellum: triangular and bearing few setae.

Elytra: slightly wider than pronotum; explanate margins narrow, extending from the

humerus to about one quarter of the length of the elytra, dark brown throughout; elytral

costae lacking.

Legs: compressed; tibial spurs lacking; claws simple.

Abdomen: ventral abdominal segments 2 to 5 dark brown to black, 6 and 7 with the

medial one half of the ventral surface covered by photic organs, 8 and 9 very light in


Female: unknown.

Etymology. This species is named for Dr. Charles Triplehom, the Ohio State

University, who collected the first specimens ofPetalacmis (Petalacmispraeclarus) the

author first encountered as a graduate student while investigating the systematics of the

family Lampyridae. Dr. Triplehom has been both a mentor and an inspiration to me. It is

with great appreciation and respect for Dr. Triplehorn that I name this species after him.

Material Examined. Holotype, male: Bolivia: Santa Cruz, 3.7km SSE of Buena Vista,

Hotel Flora and Fauna, 405m. 5-15-XI-2001, 1729.949'S; 63033.152W, coll. M.C.

Thomas & B.K. Dozier, tropical transition forest.

Paratypes, males: Bolivia: (6 males) Santa Cruz, 3.7km SSE of Buena Vista, Hotel Flora

and Fauna, 405m. 5-15-XI-2001, 1729.949'S: 63033.152W, coll. M.C. Thomas & B.K.

Dozier, tropical transition forest; (2 males) Santa Cruz, 3.7km SSE ofBuena Vista, Hotel

Flora and Fauna, 430m. 5-15-XI-2001, 1729.949'S: 63033.152W, coll. M.C. Thomas,

Blacklight trap, tropical transition forest; (3 males) Santa Cruz, 3.7km SSE of Buena

Vista, Hotel Flora and Fauna, 430m. 2-13-III-2000, coll. M.C. Thomas, tropical transition

forest; (1 male) Santa Cruz, 3.7km SSE of Buena Vista, Hotel Flora and Fauna, 430m.

14-19-X-2000, coll. M.C. Thomas, tropical transition forest.


Petalacmis was erected for the species P. praeclarus by Olivier in 1908. In a later work

(Olivier 1910) he placed the genus in subfamily Photininae. Green (1959) redefined the

tribe Lampyrini and limited it to only those genera that possessed a mandible of the

"modified" type. Green defined this type of mandible as "small, more or less porrect,

coarsely pubescent externally, and with quite slender glabrous tips that are variably

discontinuous in curvature with the rest of the mandible." In this 1959 work, Green

moved Petalacmis to the superfamily Lampyrinae and the tribe Lampyrini. Green's

placement of Petalacmis was followed in McDermott's subsequent taxonomic work on

Lampyridae (1964) and his 1966 catalog.

The locality data for Olivier's P. praeclarus is simply "Brazil." It has since been

collected in Bolivia and Peru (Olivier 1908; Reichardt 1963;McDermott 1964, 1966,

Lawrence et. al. 2001). In 1964, Reichardt described the second species, P. wittmeri

which was collected at Estado do Para, Ananindena, Brazil. P. triplehorni n. sp. was

collected near Buena Vista, Santa Cruz, Bolivia. The three species of Petalacmis are

easily diagnosable by size (Table 1), antennal morphology (Fig. 4), and the shape of


Key to the Species of Petalacmis

1. Elytra with outer edges (when folded) roughly parallel, elytron generally of equal

width across its length, tapering slightly toward the distal tip.......................2

1'. Elytra with outer edges (when folded) not parallel, elytron widest in middle and

tapering at proximal and distal tips.................Petalacmis wittmeri Reichardt

2(1). Elytral explanate margin extending one half to two thirds of elytral length and

yellowish, antennomeres 5 and 7 being equal in width to 6 and 8.

Petalacmis praeclarus Olivier

2'. Elytral explanate margin extending one third of elytral length and the same color as

the rest of the elytron brown, antennomeres 5 and 7 being wider than 6 and 8.

Petalacmis triplehorni new species

Due to the presence of large eyes and photic organs in the male, one might expect that

both the male and female of these species are luminous and use luminous signals for pair-

formation. The large size of these photic organs in the males and the fact that they cover

most of the sternite indicate that they most likely produced "flashed" signals rather than

"glows" (Branham and Wenzel 2003). Due to the fact that no females are currently

known for any of the three species in this genus might suggest that they are sedentary,

perhaps brachypterous or even apterous. Alternatively, these species may be so

uncommonly encountered that no females have been collected.


Charles Triplehom for collecting the specimens that made me aware of this genus and for

being the great friend and mentor that he is. Cleida Costa for comparing the new species

to the holotype of P. wittmeri. Michael Thomas for collecting the series of specimens

described in this manuscript and making them available for to study. James E. Lloyd

and Paul "Skip" Choate for commenting on a draft of the manuscript and Ale Maruniak

for help translating Spanish. The holotype ofPetalacmis triplehorni is deposited in the

Museo de Historia Natural, Departamento Entomologia, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia;

paratypes are held at the Florida State Collection of Arthropods, Gainesville, FL (FSCA),

the Ohio State University, Columbus, OH (OSUC), the Museu de Zoologia, Universidade

de Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil (MZSP) and the personal collection of Marc A. Branham

(MABC). This is the University of Florida Agricultural Experimental Station journal

series #R-11005.


Branham, M.A. and J.W. Wenzel 2003. The origin of photic behavior and the evolution

of sexual communication in fireflies (Coleoptera: Lampyridae). Cladistics

19(2003): 1-22.

Green, J.W. 1959. Revision of the species of Microphotus with an emendation of the

Lampyrini (Lampyridae). Coleopterists' Bulletin 13: 80-96.

Lawrence, J.F., A.M. Hastings, M.J.Dallwitz, T.A. Paine and E.J. Zurcher 2001.

Elateriformia (Coleoptera): Descriptions, Illustrations, Identification, and

Information Retrieval for Families and Sub-families. Version: 22nd December


McDemott, F.A. 1964. The taxonomy of Lampyridae (Coleoptera). Transactions of the

American Entomological Society. 90: 1-72.

McDermott, F.A. 1966. Pars 9 Lampyridae. In: W.O. Steel (ed.), Coleopterorum

Catalogus Supplementa. W. Junk, The Hague, 149pp.

Olivier, E. 1908. Description d'un nouveau genre et d'une nouvelle espece de

Lampyrides (Col.). Bulletin de la Societe Entomologique de France 1908: 186-


Olivier, E. 1910. Pars 9. Lampyridae. In: S. Schenkling (ed.). Coleopterorum Catalogus.

W. Junk, Berlin, 68pp.

Reichardt, H. 1963. Notas sobre el genero Petalacmis, con description de una especie

nueva (Coleoptera, Lampyridae). Neotropica 9: 107-110.

List of Tables:

Table 1. Comparative measurements between the three known species of Petalacmis.

List of Figures:

Figure 1 and 2. Petalacmis triplehorni n. species, male, 1. dorsal habitus. 2. ventral


Figure 3. Petalacmis triplehorni n. species, male, pronotum, dorsal view.

Figure 4. Comparison between the antennal morphologies of a) Petalacmispraeclarus, b)

Petalacmis wittmeri, and c) Petalacmis triplehorni, scale bar = 1.0mm

Table 1.

Dimensions (mm) P praeclarus P wittmeri P. triplehorni

Total Length: 8.6 6.8 5.0

Pronotal Length: 1.8 1.5 1.0

Pronotal Width: 2.5 2.2 1.3

Elytral Length: 6.8 5.3 4.0

Greatest Elytral Width: 3.1 3.4 0.7

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