Stimulopalpus japonicus, copyright Ashley Bradford.

Belongs within: Amphientometae.

The Amphientominae are a group of scale-covered barklice in which the hind wing has vein M simple or is greatly reduced (New & Lienhard 2007). The Chinese species Yinia capitinigra and Yunientomia ditaenia are completely wingless (Li 2002).

Barrow’s scaly bark-louse
Published 19 December 2013
Male of Lithoseopsis humphreysi, from Taylor (2013). As this specimen has been preserved in ethanol, most of the wings’ scales have been washed off.

Yesterday, I told you about our project’s new book on the terrestrial invertebrates of Barrow Island. In this post, I want to tell you about my own main contribution: a description of Barrow Island’s resident species of Amphientomidae.

Amphientomidae is a family of the bark-lice, the Psocodea (or Psocoptera, perhaps). They differ from most other bark-lice in having the wings densely covered in scales, like the wings of a moth; someone on BugGuide once referred to an amphientomid as a “moth-hopper-louse-bug thingy”. These scales are often arranged into striking patterns of contrasting colours (take a look at the individual below). When the late Courtenay Smithers initially identified our collections of bark-lice from Barrow Island (which we briefly reviewed last year, though most are still not identified to formal species), he highlighted the presence of an amphientomid in the collection as particularly interesting. Amphientomids are incredibly little known in Australia. Only three Australian species had previously been described, and all three were only known from a single specimen. The description in my paper is drawn from six specimens, so it represents a tripling of Australia’s published tally!

A North American species of Lithoseopsis, L. hellmani, photographed by Diane Young.

With this in mind, a description of the Barrow Island amphientomid seemed in order. This, of course, required comparing it to the already-described Australian species, which had thankfully been given detailed descriptions (Smithers 1989; New 1994). Two of these were from Western Australia: one from the Kimberley region in the far north, the other from the Cape Range which is on the mainland close to Barrow Island. Both of these had been placed in the genus Seopsis, which is otherwise known from Africa and Asia. However, when I compared the Barrow Island specimens to descriptions of Seopsis and other Asian genera, things didn’t quite add up. For instance, take a look at the face of the Barrow Island species:

In particular, note the position of the ocelli (the three simple eyespots) at the front of the face. In all the Australian species, these are widely spaced, and the two lateral ocelli are right alongside the compound eyes. In contrast, here is the face of a Japanese amphientomid:

The individual in this photo, from here, isn’t identified but may belong to Paramphientomum yumyum (yes, really, that’s its name). Note how in this species, all three ocelli form a close triangle in the centre of the face; Seopsis also has this arrangement of ocelli. Other features such as genital morphology were also inconsistent between the Western Australian species and Seopsis.

Instead, the Western Australian species are better placed in a genus called Lithoseopsis*. The Barrow Island specimens I assigned to the same species that had earlier been described from the Cape Range, Lithoseopsis humphreysi. There are some minor differences between the Barrow specimens and the Cape Range holotype, but with only one specimen available from the latter locality I couldn’t really assess whether these were indicative of more than one species. The recognition of this species as Lithoseopsis is interesting, as this genus is otherwise known only from southern North America. How such an oddly disjunct distribution may have come about I have no idea; my first guess would be that it’s somehow relictual. However, it’s also worth pointing out that there are three other genera very similar to Lithoseopsis that share its broadly-spaced ocelli: the African genus Hemiseopsis and the circum-Mediterranean genera Marcenendius and Nephax. The relationship between these genera really deserves a proper study.

*And here’s a bit of a cautionary tale for you all. When I initially submitted the manuscript of this paper for review, one of the reviewers pointed out that the Western Australian species shouldn’t be placed in Lithoseopsis due to the absence of one of that genus’ primary features, a sclerotised plate on the back of the abdomen. Therefore, the manuscript was revised and accepted to establish the WA species as a new genus. At this point, I should note, the only amphientomids that had been available from Barrow Island were males. However, shortly before the book was due to be published, I finally received a female specimen. This specimen possessed the sclerotised plate that had been absent in the males! The paper was quickly revised at the last minute to return the WA species to Lithoseopsis. The ability to examine a female from Barrow also lead me to change my mind about whether the Barrow species was distinct from the Cape Range species, represented only by a female holotype. Unfortunately, once the book had been published and I could see the final product, I found that I had missed correcting the genus and species name in the figure captions! Much wailing and gnashing of teeth immediately commenced, I can bloody well tell you. After the whole pureora/pureroa thing, 2013 has not made me look good as a proof-reader.

The Barrow Island specimens also tell us something interesting about intra-specific variation in amphientomids. A common feature of bark-lice is variation within species of wing development: individuals of a single species may have the wings fully developed, reduced or absent. In amphientomids, however, such variation has been rarely recorded. A couple of species are known in which males and females differed in wing development, but so far as was known all males and all females had wings the same size. In the Barrow Island specimens, however, some males had both pairs of wings large and fully developed, but others had the forewings slightly shortened and the hind wings reduced to minute flaps. As the reduced-wing specimens were otherwise little different from the fully-winged specimens, they seem unlikely to represent different species. Instead, Lithoseopsis humphreysi is the first recorded example for amphientomids of wing polymorphism within a single sex.

Systematics of Amphientominae
Amphientominae [Amphientomini]
|--Yinia Li 1995L02
| `--*Y. capitinigra Li 1995L02
|--Yunientomia Li 2002 [=Yunamphientomia]L02
| `--*Y. ditaenia Li 2002L02
|--Lifashengia Lienhard 2003T13 [=Obeliscus Li 2002 nec Beck 1837 nec Gray 1847 nec Popofsky 1913L02]
| `--*L. zhongshani (Li 2002) [=*Obeliscus zhongshani]L03
|--Stigmatopathus Enderlein 1903NL07, T13
| `--*S. horvarthi Enderlein 1903NL07
|--Marcenendius Navás 1913T13
| |--*M. nostras Navás 1913L98
| `--M. illustris Navás 1923L98
|--Pseudoseopsis Badonnel 1955L02
| |--*P. vilhenai Badonnel 1955B55
| `--P. elegans New 1973NL07
|--Biocellientomia Li 2002L02
| |--*B. bitrigata Li 2002 [=B. bitrigala]L02
| `--B. diplosticta Li 2002L02
|--Neuroseopsis Li 2002L02
| |--*N. curtifurcis Li 2002L02
| `--N. mecodichis Li 2002L02
|--Cornutientomus Li 2002L02 [=CornutientomiusL03]
| |--*C. chinensis (Li 1993) [=Nephax chinensis, Seopsis chinensis]L02
| `--C. illepidotus Li 2002L02
|--Syllysis Hagen 1865NL07, T13
| |--*S. (Syllysis) caudata [=Amphientomum caudatum]NL07
| |--S. samarangana Enderlein 1926NL07
| `--S. (*Colposeopsis) sinipennisNL07
|--Nephax Pearman 1935T13
| |--*N. sofadanus Pearman 1935T13
| |--N. angolensis Badonnel 1955B55
| |--N. capensis Pearman 1935T13
| `--N. fortunatus (Navás 1917) [=Perientomum fortunatum]L98
|--Hemiseopsis Enderlein 1906T13
| |--H. alettae Smithers 1989T13
| |--H. fuellerborniS89
| |--H. machadoi Badonnel 1955B55
| `--H. obscurusS89
|--Amphientomum Pictet 1854T13
| | i. s.: A. ectostriolate Li 1999L03, L02 [=A. ectostriolatisL03, A. ectostriolatum (l. c.)L03]
| | A. elongatum Mockford 1969P92
| |--*A. (Amphientomum) paradoxum Pictet 1854L02
| `--A. (Palaeoseopsis Roesler 1944)B55
| `--A. (P.) flexuosum Badonnel 1955B55
|--Ancylentomus Li 2002L02 [=AncylentomiusL03, Ancylopsocus Li 1997 non Tillyard 1926L02]
| |--*A. fortuosus (Li 1997) [=*Ancylopsocus fortuosus]L02
| |--A. apicidealbatus Li 2002L02
| |--A. ganquanensis Li 2002L02
| |--A. longinervis Li 2002L02
| `--A. macrurus (Li 1997)L03, L02 (see below for synonymy)
|--Lithoseopsis Mockford 1993 [incl. Newseopsides Taylor 2013 (n. n.)]T13
| |--*L. hellmani (Mockford & Gurney 1956)T13 [=Pseudoseopsis hellmaniM93]
| |--L. brasiliensis García Aldrete, da Silva Neto & Lopes Ferreira 2018GASNLF18
| |--L. cervantesi García Aldrete 2004T13
| |--L. chamelensis García Aldrete 2004T13
| |--L. elongata (Mockford 1969)GASNLF18
| |--L. hystrix (Mockford 1974)T13 [=Amphientomum hystrixM93]
| |--L. humphreysi (New 1994) [=Seopsis humphreysi; incl. Newseopsides smithersi Taylor 2013 (n. n.)]T13
| |--L. incisa (Smithers 1989) [=Seopsis incisa]T13
| |--L. insularis García Aldrete 2004T13
| `--L. tuitensis García Aldrete 2004T13
|--Paramphientomum Enderlein 1906L02
| |--*P. (Paramphientomum) nietneri Enderlein 1906NL07
| |--P. cordatum Li 2002L02
| |--P. luzonica Banks 1937N75
| |--P. malayense New 1971NL07
| |--P. nigrceps Banks 1937L02
| |--P. sinuosum New 1975NL07
| |--P. striatum Thornton 1984NL07
| |--P. triangulum Li 1992L02
| |--P. (*Hormocoria) tristrigatum (Enderlein 1926) [=*Hormocoria tristrigata]NL07
| `--P. yumyum Enderlein 1907L02
|--Diamphipsocus Li 1997L02
| |--*D. fulvus Li 1997L02
| |--D. acaudatus Li 1997L02
| |--D. concoloratus Li 2002L02
| |--D. grammostictous Li 2002L02
| |--D. magnimanubrus (Li 1995)L03, L02 [=Paramphientomum magnimanubrumL03, D. magnimanbrus (l. c.)L03]
| |--D. nanus (Li 1995) [=Paramphientomum nanum]L02
| |--D. shanxiensis Li 2002L02
| |--D. signatus Li 2002L02
| |--D. weihuai Li 2002L02
| `--D. xanthocephalus Li 1997L02
|--Seopsis Enderlein 1906L02
| |--*S. vasantasena Enderlein 1906L02
| |--S. badia Li 2002L02
| |--S. beijingensis Li 2002L02
| |--S. concava Li 2002L02
| |--S. cycloptera Li 1995L02
| |--S. eucalla Li 2002L02
| |--S. guibeiensis Li 2002L02
| |--S. hirtella Li 1999L02
| |--S. longisquama Li 2002 [=S. longisquamis]L03
| |--S. luzonica Banks 1937NL07
| |--S. magna Li 2002L02
| |--S. metallopsS89
| |--S. metodicra Li 2002L02
| |--S. multisquama Li 2002 [=S. multiquama]L03
| |--S. nanjingensis Li 2002 [=S. nanijingensis]L02
| |--S. nepalensisS89
| |--S. pavonia Badonnel 1955S89, B55 [=S. pavoniusB55]
| |--S. qinlingensis Li 2002L02
| |--S. superbaS89
| |--S. termitophila Badonnel 1955S89, B55 [=S. termitophilusB55]
| `--S. tricolor Banks 1937NL07
`--Stimulopalpus Enderlein 1906L02
|--*S. japonicus Enderlein 1906L02 [=Seopsis (Stimulopalpus) japonicusM93]
|--S. acutipinnatus Li 2002L02
|--S. africanus Enderlein 1910B55
|--S. angustivalvus Li 2002L02
|--S. baeoivalvus Li 2002L02
|--S. biocellatus Badonnel 1949B49
|--S. brunneus (New 1975)NL07 [=Seopsis brunneaS95; incl. Se. harveyi Vaughan, Thornton & New 1989S95]
|--S. changjiangicus Li 1997L02
|--S. cochleatus Li 2002L02
|--S. concinnus Li 2002L02
|--S. conflexus Li 2002L02
|--S. distinctus Smithers 1995NL07
|--S. dolichogonus Li 2002L02
|--S. erromerus Li 2002L02
|--S. estipitatus Li 2002L02
|--S. exilis Li 2002L02
|--S. furcatus Li 2002L02
|--S. galactospilus Li 2002L02
|--S. heteroideus Li 2002L02
|--S. huashanensis Li 2002L02
|--S. immediatus Li 2002L02
|--S. introcurvus Li 2002L02
|--S. isoneurus Li 2002L02
|--S. medifascus Li 2002L02
|--S. mimeticus Li 1997L02
|--S. peltatus Li 2002L02
|--S. pentospilus Li 2002L02
|--S. phaeospilus Li 1999L02
|--S. polychaetus Li 2002L02
`--S. psednopetalus Li 2002L02

Ancylentomus macrurus (Li 1997)L03, L02 [=Ancylopsocus macrourusL02, Ancylentomus macrourus (l. c.)L03, Ancylentomus maecrorurus (l. c.)L03]

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B49] Badonnel, A. 1949. Psocoptères de la Cote d’Ivoire. Mission Paulian-Delamare (1945). Revue Française d’Entomologie 16: 20–46.

[B55] Badonnel, A. 1955. Psocoptères de l’Angola. Diamang Publicações Culturais 26: 11–267.

[GASNLF18] García Aldrete, A. N., A. M. da Silva Neto & R. Lopes Ferreira. 2018. Lithoseopsis Mockford (Psocodea: Troctomorpha: Amphientomidae): a new species and first record for South America. Zootaxa 4526 (1): 91–95.

[L02] Li F. 2002. Psocoptera of China vol. 1. Science Press: Beijing.

[L98] Lienhard, C. 1998. Faune de France. France et Régions Limitrophes. 83. Psocoptères Euro-Méditerranéens. Fédération Française des Sociétés de Sciences Naturelles: Paris.

[L03] Lienhard, C. 2003. Nomenclatural amendments concerning Chinese Psocoptera (Insecta), with remarks on species richness. Revue Suisse de Zoologie 110 (4): 695–721.

[M93] Mockford, E. L. 1993. North American Psocoptera (Insecta). Sandhill Crane Press, Inc.

[N75] New, T. R. 1975. Lepidopsocidae and Amphientomidae (Psocoptera) from Malaysia and Singapore. Oriental Insects 9 (2): 177–194.

New, T. R. 1994. A second species of Amphientomidae (Insecta: Psocoptera) from Western Australia. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 114 (4): 233–236.

[NL07] New, T. R., & C. Lienhard. 2007. The Psocoptera of Tropical South-east Asia. Brill: Leiden.

[P92] Poinar, G. O., Jr. 1992. Life in Amber. Stanford University Press: Stanford.

[S89] Smithers, C. N. 1989. Two new species of Amphientomidae (Insecta: Psocoptera), the first record of the family for Australia. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 111 (1): 31–35.

[S95] Smithers, C. N. 1995. Psocoptera (Insecta) of Christmas Island. Invertebrate Taxonomy 9: 529–561.

[T13] Taylor, C. K. 2013. The genus Lithoseopsis (Psocodea: Amphientomidae) in the Western Australian fauna, with description of the male of Lithoseopsis humphreysi from Barrow Island. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement 83: 245–252.

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