Research Article
Research Article
Homonymy in Pompilidae: The case of Balboana Banks (Pompilinae, Priochilini)
expand article infoMarius S. Wasbauer, Lynn S. Kimsey
‡ University of California, Davis, United States of America
† Deceased author
Open Access


The pompilid genus Balboana Banks, 1944 is preoccupied by Uvarov, 1939. A new replacement name, Braunilla Wasbauer and Kimsey is proposed and a species checklist included.


Balboa, Tettigoniidae, Rhyparochromidae


In 1925, Nathan Banks published the generic name Balboa for a spider wasp species from “America Meridionalis”. Later he became aware that Balboa already been used by Distant (1893) for a species of rhyparochromid bug (Balboa germana Distant), and he proposed the replacement name Balboana for the pompilid genus (Banks 1943). Unfortunately, we were recently informed that the name Balboana is itself a homonym, preoccupied by Balboana Uvarov, a tettigoniid orthopteran. Thus, we propose the replacement name Braunilla below to honor the discoverer of the homonymy, Dr. Holger Braun, Division Entomologia, Museo de La Plata, La Plata, Argentina.

Type repositories listed below include:

CAMBRIDGE Museum of Comparative Zoology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA;

COPENHAGEN Zoologisk Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark;

ITHACA Cornell University Insect Collection, Ithaca, New York, USA;

LONDON The Natural History Museum, London, England;

WASHINGTON U. S. National Museum, Washington, D.C., USA.


Genus Braunilla Wasbauer & Kimsey, new replacement name

Balboa Banks 1925: 336. Type species: Priocnemis barbouri Banks (=Priocnemis auripennis Fabricius).

Balboana Banks 1944: 102. Replacement name for Balboa Banks 1925. Nec Distant 1893 (Balboa variabilis Distant, Rhyparochromidae).

Braunilla Wasbauer & Kimsey. Replacement name for Balboana Banks, 1944. Nec Uvarov, 1939 (Balboana tibialis (Brunner von Wattenwyl, 1895, Tettigoniidae).

Braunilla is a small genus of Neotropical pompilids in the subfamily Pompilinae, tribe Priochilini (Waichert et al. 2015). The species are strongly sexually dimorphic and range in size from 5–23 mm in length. Ten species have been attributed to the genus, although only the Central America and Mexican species have been reviewed (Evans 1966). There is also some confusion about the author of the species, Braunilla manifestata. The species was originally published as Agenia manifestata by F. Smith, but was later attributed to Banks by Fernández (2000).

Nothing is known about the biology of any of the species in the genus. Evans (1968) suggested they might be parasites of Priochilus because the ranges of the two genera are coincident and Braunilla females have the compressed apical metasomal sternum typical of some parasitic pompilids.

Checklist of Braunilla species

Braunilla auripennis (Fabricius). Panama, Guyana.

Pompilus auripennis Fabricius 1804: 192. Syntype females; America Meridionalis (=South America) (COPENHAGEN).

Pompilus chiriquensis Cameron 1893: 201. Holotype female; Panama: Bugaba (LONDON). Synonymized by Evans 1966.

Pompilus moorei Cameron 1912: 424. Holotype female; British Guyana: Demerara (LONDON). Synonymized by Banks 1944.

Procnemis (Balboa) barbouri Banks 1925: 333. Holotype female; Panama (CAMBRIDGE). Synonymized by Evans 1966.

Braunilla cameroni (Evans). Costa Rica, Panama.

Balboana cameroni Evans 1966: 179. Holotype male; Costa Rica: Turrialba (WASHINGTON).

Braunilla elegans (Banks). Bolivia.

Balboana elegans Banks 1946: 509. Holotype female; Bolivia: Sara Prov., Buenavista (CAMBRIDGE).

Braunilla fenestralis (Banks). Bolivia?

Balboana fenestralis Banks 1946: 508. Holotype female; Bolivia: Santa Cruz, Buenavista (ITHACA).

Braunilla fulvipes (Banks). Guyana.

Balboana fulvipes Banks 1944; Holotype female; Guyana: Cuyni-Mazaruni, Kartabo (CAMBRIDGE).

Braunilla manifestata (F. Smith). northern South America.

Agenia manifestata F. Smith 1866: 264. Type: “The Amazons: Tunantius” (LONDON).

Balboana manifestata Banks, 1944. Incorrectly attributed to Banks (Fernández 2000). Nomen nudum.

Braunilla nayaritana (Evans). Mexico.

Balboana nayaritana Evans 1966: 181. Holotype female; Mexico: Nayarit, Vic. Compostela (CAMBRIDGE).

Braunilla nigrina Banks. Brazil.

Balboana nigrina Banks 1946: 507. Holotype female; Brazil: Santa Catarina, Nova Teutonia (CAMBRIDGE).

Braunilla pulchella (Evans). Panama.

Balboana pulchella Evans 1966: 182. Holotype female; Panama: Barro Colorado Is. (WASHINGTON).

Braunilla tarsalis (Cameron). Guatemala.

Pseudagenia tarsalis Cameron 1897: 372. Holotype female; Guatemala: Purula, Vera Paz (LONDON?).


We are grateful to Holger Braun for pointing out the homonymy in this name, which led to the entertainment of discovering how many homonyms this small obscure genus had accrued. Thanks also to the reviewers for their suggestions.


  • Banks N (1925) Psammocharidae from Panamá. Bulletin of the Museum of comparative Zoology 67: 329–338.
  • Banks N (1946) Studies of South American Psammocharidae, part 1. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 96(4): 311–525.
  • Evans HE (1966) A revision of the Mexican and Central American spider wasps of the subfamily Pompilinae (Hymenoptera: Pompilidae). Memoirs of the American Entomological Society 20: 1–442.
  • Evans HE (1968) Mexican and Central American Pompilidae: supplementary notes. Entomological News 79: 158–167.
  • Distant WL (1893) Insects, Rhynchota, Hemiptera-Heteroptera, Biologia Centrali Americana, suppl. 1: 378–462.
  • Fernández FC (2000) Avispas cazadores de Arañas de la Región Neotropical. Biota Colombiana 1(1): 3–24.
  • Smith F (1866) Descriptions of new species of Brazilian Pompilidae. Journal of Entomology 2: 263–270.
  • Waichert C, Rodriguez J, Wasbauer MS, von Dohlen CD, Pitts JP (2015) Molecular phylogeny and systematics of spider wasps: redefining subfamily boundaries and the origin of the family. Zoological Journal of the Linnaean Society 175(2): 271–287.
login to comment