What was once considered a single Holarctic species of green lacewing, Chrysoperla carnea (Stephens), has recently been shown to be a complex of many cryptic, sibling species, the carnea species group, whose members are reproductively isolated by their substrate-borne vibrational songs. Because species in the complex are diagnosed by their song phenotypes and not by morphology, the current systematic status of the type species has become a problem. Here, we attempt to determine which song species corresponds to Stephens’ 1835 concept of C. carnea, originally based on a small series of specimens collected in or near London and currently housed in The Natural History Museum. With six European members of the complex from which to choose, we narrow the field to just three that have been collected in England: C. lucasina (Lacroix), Cc2 ‘slow-motorboat’, and Cc4 ‘motorboat’. Ecophysiology eliminates C. lucasina, because that species remains green during adult winter diapause, while Cc2 and Cc4 share with Stephens’ type a change to brownish or reddish color in winter. We then describe the songs, ecology, adult morphology, and larval morphology of Cc2 and Cc4, making statistical comparisons between the two species. Results strongly reinforce the conclusion that Cc2 and Cc4 deserve separate species status. In particular, adult morphology displays several subtle but useful differences between the species, including the shape of the basal dilation of the metatarsal claw and the genital ‘lip’ and ‘chin’ of the male abdomen, color and coarseness of the sternal setae at the tip of the abdomen and on the genital lip, and pigment distribution on the stipes of the maxilla. Furthermore, behavioral choice experiments involving playback of conspecific versus heterospecific songs to individuals of Cc2 and Cc4 demonstrate strong reproductive isolation between the two species. Comparison of the adult morphology of song-determined specimens to that of preserved specimens in the original type series and in other collections in The Natural History Museum, London, indicate that the ‘true’ Chrysoperla carnea (Stephens) is Cc4. Cc2 cannot be confidently associated with any previously described species and is therefore assigned a new name, Chrysoperla pallida sp. nov., and formally described.
Annals of the Entomological Society of America
Vol. 95 • No. 2
Vol. 95 • No. 2