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probably Nipponorthezia obscura - Nipponorthezia obscura - female

probably Nipponorthezia obscura - Nipponorthezia obscura - Female
Perry Lake, Jefferson County, Kansas, USA
March 14, 2009
Size: 2.0 mm
sifted detritus on muddy beach | Z.H.Falin leg.

Zack's comment: "I'm pretty sure this is Nipponorthezia obscura Morrison, though I can't seem to find a corroborating photo of the critter with the cuticular wax still in place (I haven't been able to get a hold of the original description or Kozar's most recent (2004) key). However, the antennal structure matches quite nicely the photographs in Vea & Grimaldi (2012) (1) (assuming the terminal stylus is considered a true 4th segment). You can just barely see the short basal antennal segments, and the terminal seta-like segment is clearly visible in the left antenna (the other one has been broken off). Although species in the genus Newsteadia have variable numbers of antennal segments, I believe no North American species have 4; N. obscura may be the only ortheziid species with 4 in NA."

mmm not as easy as I thought

Very nice finding. I am checking how the wax secretion is in Nipponorthezia, and in the descriptions of Kozar 2004, the whole genus doesn't have any secretion on the dorsum. I found a picture of Nipponorthezia obscura on a Japanese website:
The back should be dark brown with just the middle with some white secretion.

If we follow Kozar's key, it will key out as the genus Neonipponorthezia but there are so far only two species described from New Guinea. and also, the wax plates are a little more eccentric.

Lastly, I wonder if there is actually any secretion on the back given the picture, it is not clear to me because the surface looks very smooth, in which case, it is likely to be Nipponorthezia obscura...

Thank you for your comments- these critters are not my specialty, but they are pretty darn cool!

[Hold on, the lightbulb is starting to go off! You're one of the authors on the paper I'm citing, correct? Then perhaps I am very, very wrong! Still, I will post my comments below...]

I am working on getting Kozar's 2004 paper, but for now I am gleaning what I can from Vea and Grimaldi's paper referenced above. I'm still pretty confident that this is Nipponorthezia (though I suppose it is possible, but not likely, that this is an undescribed species).

A few points of clarification: I do not think Nipponorthezia has no dorsal secretions as per your comment. The dark areas you see in my photo are merely sand particles caked onto the wax. I believe the same is true of the photograph you linked to- that's dirt stuck to the top of the critter- the wax is underneath. I have another specimen without so much dirt on it- I'll try to take another photo.

Further, according to Vea & Grimaldi's character matrix (character 55), Nipponorthezia does indeed have waxy lobes on the dorsum. They offer three possibilities: waxy lobes covering the entire dorsum, partially covering the dorsum or no waxy lobes on the dorusm. According to their matrix, Nipponorthezia is "partially covered". This is a little confusing at first because they are not talking about the actual wax secretions, but the cuticular areas the wax is secreted from (as is clear in figure 12). So, it may look like the entire dorsum is covered in wax (or in this case covered in wax that is covered in dirt), though it is really only being secreted from discrete areas.

Lastly, Vea & Grimaldi note that Nipponorthezia and Nipponorthezinella are the only two genera with submedian dorsal wax lobes on the abdomen only (character 56). If I am interpreting this correctly, those abdominal submedian lobes are visible in my photograph as groups of three waxy lobes on either side of the midline about 2/3rds of the way down critter- they are pointing obliquely posteriorly.

Again, I'm no expert, and I do definitely appreciate your comments!

dorsal wax

Thank you for your comments, and I am happy to see that someone actually looked at my paper in detail.

I defined submedian wax as the midline of wax secretion that is found bilaterally on the body, as opposed to the median secretion found in the thorax only in Arctorthezia.

Apparently, Nipponorthezia has this submedian line of wax and wax marginally but not submarginal, (basically, the rest of the dorsum.)

When I was mentioning the absence of dorsal wax in my previous comment, I was actually implying that the submedian was present but not the submarginal wax, it is obvious on the image I provided. And Kozar 2004 has also the submedian present.

Let me know if you want to receive a scan from the Nipponorthezia from Kozar 2004. It is a book, and I had to buy it directly from the author, it wasn't very cheap..


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