The identity of the subspecies Megacrinia batesi speiseri Carl, 1915 (Carl spelled batesii as batesi in error) from Malo, New Hebrides is clarified. Carl's subspecies is elevated to the species Megacrania speiseri Carl, 1915 and morphological characters are redescribed with measurements. A key of the genus Megacrania is provided.
Carl (1915) described female specimens collected from Malo, New Hebrides as the subspecies Megacrania batesi speiseri. Hsiung (2007) doubted the identity of M. batesi speiseri but was unable to access any of Carl's type specimens for further study at that time. Hsiung (2007) went on to describe a specimen from Efate, New Hebrides as Megacrania obscurus and wondered whether Carl's subspecies might belong to M. obscurus.
Willemse (1926) described three females and a nymph collected in New Hebrides, Espir.-Santo Isl. as a new species, Megacrania bakeri, originating from the same region as Carl's subspecies. He gave only a brief description with simple measurements of antennae, thorax, femur and subgenital plate and did not give critical information on the wings; the species has been only rarely mentioned since his publication.
Hsiung (2007) misrepresented “Fidji” island as the locality of Willemse's M. bakeri and Carl's subspecies M. batesi speiseri when he cited Gunter's (1931) paper. Actually there was no record indicating Megacrania species to occur in Fidji. Gunter (1931) listed M. batesi speiseri occuring in New Hebriden. Shiraki (1932) followed Günther's reference and made a key to known world species of Megacrania which included five species; M. bakeri Willemse was one of them.
The author finally received a syntype specimen of Carl's Megacaenia batesi speiseri from Naturhistorisches Museum Basel in 2008 and compared it with the type specimen of M. batesii from the Solomon Islands and Hsiung's (2007) species of M. obscurus from Efate, New Hebrides (see Tables 1 to 3); it was found that they were distinctly different species and it was concluded that Carl's type specimen was not a subspecies of M. batesii and should be accorded full species status as Megacrania speiseri Carl, 1915. Since Carl did not give a detailed description of this species, a complete description and measurements are given. The author also updates here the key to the species of Megacrania (Hsiung 2007).
A revised key to the species of Megacrania
1. Mesonotum granulose 2
— Mesonotum smooth 12
2. Mesonotum sparsely granulose; cerci short, not reaching apex of operculum. Philippines (“Ceylon” probably erroneous) alpheus (Westwood)
— Mesonotum densely granulose; cerci long, reaching or surpassing apex of operculum 3
3. Lateral margins of pronotum and mesonotum slightly spinose 4
— Lateral margins of pronotum and mesonotum conspicuously spiny 10
4. Subgenital plate not surpassing extremities of cerci 5
— Subgenital plate surpassing extremities of cerci 8
5. Subgenital plate just reaching extremities of cerci. Admiralty Is vickeri Hsiung
— Subgenital plate not reaching extremities of cerci 6
6. Granules of mesonotum robust and sharp; hind wing reaching a little beyond hind margin of 3rd abdominal tergum. Taiwan tsudai Shiraki
— Granules of mesonotum slightly elongate not quite sharp; hind wing reaching a little beyond hind margin of 3rd abdominal tergum 7
7. Mesonotum with >60 granules, the lateral margin slightly spiny; tegmina ovate, shorter than mesonotum; posterior margin of anal segment nearly rounded. Solomon Is, Australia, New Guinea batesii Kirby
— Mesonotum with 60 granules, the lateral margin not spiny; tegmina ovate, slightly longer than mesonotum; posterior margin of anal segment nearly square. Borneo rentzi Hsiung
8. Hind wing extending a little beyond posterior margin of 2nd abdominal tergum; mesonotum with 80 oval granules; posterior margin of anal segment nearly round, slightly concave medially. Malo, New Hebrides speiseri Carl
— Hind wing reaching or extending beyond posterior margin of 3rd abdominal tergum, mesonotum with more or less 80 granules. Posterior margin of anal segment nearly round, slightly or not concave medially 9
9. Hind wing nearly reaching posterior margin of 3rd abdominal tergum; mesonotum with 70 narrow small distinct granules; posterior margin of anal segment slightly cleft medially. Admiralty Is artis Hsiung
— Hind wing surpassing posterior margin of 3rd abdominal tergum; mesonotum with 86 small, elongate and distinct granules; posterior margin rounded, smooth and not cleft medially Efate, New Hebrides obscurus Hsiung
10. Lateral margin of mesonotum spiny the first few anterior teeth not expanded basally; anal segment not cleft medially Indonesia, New Guinea, Pelew Id wegneri Willemse
— Lateral margin of mesonotum spiny, the first few anterior teeth closely expanded basally and closely connected; anal segment cleft medially 11
11. Mesonotal surface with 60 granules, the lateral margin spiny, the first three anterior teeth closely connected; hind wing reaching only to center of 3rd abdominal tergum. Indonesia (Key Inseln, Obi Id, Boeroe) brocki Hsiung
— Mesonotal surface with 95 granules, lateral margin very spiny, first two anterior teeth closely connected; hind wing reaching 4th abdominal tergum. New Guinea spina Hsiung
12. Body and hind wing long (130 mm, 36 mm); femora serrated ventrally, with distinct spines along the keels. Color: pale green. Fiji, Solomon Is, New Britain phelaus (Westwood)
— Body and hind wing short (98 mm, 21 mm); femora not serrated, with only a few minute spines ventrally. Color: yellowish black. New Guinea nigrosulfurea Redtenbacher
Morphological differences between Carl's female syntype of Megacrania batesi speiseri (Malo) (now Megacrania speiseri) and the lectotype of M. batesii (Solomon Ils).
Morphological differences between Carl's female syntype of M. batesi speiseri (Malo, New Hebrides) and female type specimen of M. obscurus (Efate, New Hebrides).
Morphological differences between Carl's female syntype of M. batesi speiseri from Malo and M. batesii species from Kala, New Guinea.
Megacrania speiseri Carl, 1915
The systematic status of Carl's M. batesi speiseri has been confused with Megacrania alpheus Westwood for a long period. Gunter (1931) followed Carl's publication and listed M. batesi speiseri occuring in New Herbiden. Four years later, he believed that Megacrania batesii Kirby was a synonym of Megacrania alpheus (Gunther 1935). Willemse (1926) described a new species, Megacrania bakeri, from New Hebrides. Thirty years later, he listed both Megacrania batesii and Megacrania bakeri as synonyms of Megacrania alpheus (Willemse 1955). Bragg (2001) listed Carl's M. batesi speiseri as a synonym of M. alpheus, when he studied the stick insects of Borneo. Otte and Brock (2005) doubted the validity of Bragg (2001), listing M. batesii batesii as a synonym of M. alpheus. Actually, M. alpheus is a very unique species whose holotype does not match any of the types of Megacrania. At the present, only one species is known to occur in Borneo, which is Megacrania rentzi Hsiung. Hsiung (1991, 2007) also noted that the locality of the type of M. alpheus might not be Ceylon, but rather a mislabelled Philippine specimen.
Megacrania batesi speiseri Carl, 1915, Phasmiden von Neu-Caledonien unden Loyalty-Inseln, pp. 173–178. In: Sarasin F., Roux J. (Eds) Nova Caledonia, Recherches Scientifiques en Nouvelle-Caledonie et aux lies Loyalty Zoologie Az. — Bragg 2001. Phasmids of Borneo. Nat. Hist. Pub (Borneo): 402 (partim). — Zompro and Brock. 2003. Revue Suisse de Zoologie 110(1): 23 (type data). — Gunter 1935. Overdruk Uit Het Natuurhistorisch Maandblad Nos 10 en 11: 125–126. — Willemse 1955. Treubia vd. 23, part 1: 44–45 (partim). — Bragg 2001. Phasmids of Borneo. Nat. Hist. Pub (Borneo): 402 (partim). — Zompro and Brock 2003. Revue Suisse de Zoologie 110(1): 23 (type data). — Otte & Brock 2005. Phasmida species file. Catalog of stick and leaf insects of the world. 197. — Hsiung 2007. Journal of Orthoptera Research 16(2): 207.
Megacrania bakeri Willemse, 1926. Transactions Entomological Society London 1925: 513–529 (partim). — Günther 1931. Mitteilungen aus dem Zoologischen Museum in Berlin 14: 753–831 [pp. 779–828] (partim). — Shiraki 1932. Zoological Society Japan 45: 108–111 (partim). — Willemse 1955. Treubia Vol. 23, Part 1: 44–45 (partim) — Otte & Brock 2005. Phasmida species file. Catalog of stick and leaf insects of the world. 197. — Hsiung 2007. Journal of Orthoptera Research 16 (2): 207.
Description.—Head: oval, slightly porrect, a little longer than broad. Thorax: pronotal disc as long as broad, slightly narrowed at anterolateral angles, dorsal surface uneven with strongly defined margins; mesonotum 2× length of pronotum, its surface with numerous (left 36–38, right about 41) oval granules; the granules of the posterior part are less strong than those of the anterior part; the lateral margins with weak needle-like spines. Wing: tegmina elongate-ovate, as long as mesonotum; hind wing 1.93× as long as tegmina and extending a little beyond posterior margin of second abdominal tergum. Leg: anterior femora about 1.98× as long as mesonotum, with ridge bearing five spines visible in ventral view, the mid femora with 2 on the left, 4 on the right, hind femora with 2 on the left and 2 on the right. Abdomen: elongate, segments I–V wider than remaining ones; posterior margin of anal segment nearly round, slightly concave medially; cerci broad, triangular in shape; subgenital plate gradually narrowing apically and slightly extending beyond cerci, its ventral surface with a longitudinal ridge.
Measurements.—(length in mm) ♀: body 105.0; pronotum 8.0; mesonotum 16.0; tegmen 16.0; hind wing 31.0; front femur 28.00; median femur 15.5; hind femur 18.0; front tibia 23.0; median tibia 13.5; hind tibia 15.0.
Type material.—Lectotype female (designated). Bears five labels: 1. a (hand written, on a small red square paper); 2. Malo ♀ Dr. Speiser, XI. 1911 (black hand writing); 3. Megacrania batesi kby ♀ var., Dr. Speiser XI. 1911 (hand written on a brown paper); 4. Ei eutu. F. Hennemann.
Distribution.—Known only from Malo, New Hebrides.
The author is indebted to Dr. R. Manuel for a critical review of the manuscript. Thanks are also due Miss Stéphanie Boucher for computer assistance. I am also grateful to the Naturhistorisches Museum, Basel for the loan of Carl's syntype specimen and the British Natural History Museum, London for the holotype of Megacrania batesii.