Location: Systematic Entomology LaboratoryTitle: Muhaka icipeins, an enigmatic new genus and species of Kleidotomini (Hymenoptera: Figitidae: Eucoilinae) from an East African coastal forest Author
Submitted to: Journal of Natural History
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/10/2015
Publication Date: 6/24/2015
Citation: Buffington, M.L., Copeland, R. 2015. Muhaka icipeins, an enigmatic new genus and species of Kleidotomini (Hymenoptera: Figitidae: Eucoilinae) from an East African coastal forest. Journal of Natural History. doi: 10.1080/00222933.2015.1042411. Interpretive Summary: Gall wasps and their relatives include numerous agricultural pests, as well as many predators important in biological control. In most cases, the biological attributes of these wasps are poorly known. Some species induce unsightly and damaging galls, other species are parasitoids of economically important species of flies that attack plants and livestock. The genus and species described in this paper possesses characters unlike any other known wasp species. This paper provides detailed diagnostic information and illustrations that will assist other researchers in distinguishing the new species from other species. This information will assist a broad array of scientists in better understanding the relationships, evolution, and feeding habits of these enigmatic wasps.
Technical Abstract: A remarkable new eucoiline genus and species, Muhaka icipeins, is described herein. The genus is clearly a Kleidotomini, but is distinguished from other genera in the tribe by the unique head and scutellar morphology of Muhaka. The genus belongs to the ‘wedge-head’-syndrome group of species that, to date, is unique to Afrotropical eucoilines. The new genus and species is reminiscent of Stentorceps Quinlan and Nanocthulhu Buffington, but is readily distinguished from these groups. Muhaka was collected from a threatened kaya (sacred forest), of coastal Kenya. The biological importance of this and other kaya forests, as well as their protection, is discussed.