Research Article
Research Article
Dinotrema cavernicola sp. n. (Hymenoptera, Braconidae, Alysiinae), a new species of the genus Dinotrema Foerster from caves of Spain
expand article infoFrancisco Javier Peris Felipo, Sergey A. Belokobylskij§, Kees van Achterberg|, Toni Pérez Fernández
‡ University of Valencia, Paterna, Spain
§ Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, Russia
| Naturalis, Leiden, Netherlands
¶ Grupo Espeleología Villacarrillo, Jaen, Spain
Open Access


Dinotrema cavernicola sp. n. was collected in two caves in Spain. This is the first Dinotrema species known to occur in caves. This new species is described and compared to D. affine (Fischer, 1973) and D. collybiae Munk & Peris-Felipo, 2014, species sharing a mid-longitudinal carina on the propodeum.


Alysiinae , Dinotrema , taxonomy, new species, caves, Diptera


Braconidae is the second largest family of Hymenoptera belonging to the superfamily Ichneumonoidea and with nearly 20,000 valid species around the world (Yu et al. 2012). Nearly all species of Braconidae are primary parasitoids of predominantly immature stages of Lepidoptera, Coleoptera and Diptera (Sharkey 1993).

The Alysiinae is a conspicuously diverse subfamily within the Braconidae (Dolphin and Quicke 2001) with 2,000 described species (Yu et al. 2012) separated in two large and polymorphic tribes Alysiini and Dacnusini (Shenefelt 1974). Species of Alysiini are parasitoids of a wide variety of cyclorrhaphous Diptera, mainly in humid habitats and ephemeral substrata (Wharton 2002). In contrast, Dacnusini are almost exclusively specialised on leaf- and stem-miner hosts, predominantly of the families Agromyzidae, Ephydridae and Chloropidae (Griffiths 1964, Wharton 2002).

Dinotrema Foerster, 1862 is one of the largest genera within the tribe Alysiini (van Achterberg 1988). It comprises many dozens of species described from the Palaearctic Region and mainly from Western Europe (Fischer 1972; van Achterberg 1988; Tobias 2003, 2004a, 2004b, 2006), but numerous Palaearctic species remain as yet unknown. Increasing our knowledge of this genus, several papers have been published by the two first authors (Peris-Felipo and Belokobylskij 2013; Peris-Felipo et al. 2013a, 2013b, 2013c, 2013d, 2014) and a monograph with a revision of the Western Palaearctic Dinotrema species will be published soon (Peris-Felipo et al. 2014). An arrangement of Dinotrema species in morphological groups was suggested by Fischer (1972) and later, on the basis of more diverse material, further developed by Tobias (2003, 2004a, 2006).

We describe in this paper Dinotrema cavernicola sp. n., and include it in the group of Dinotrema with a complete median longitudinal carina of the propodeum. This is the first record of a Dinotrema species collected in caves.

Materials and methods

The speleology group of Villacarrillo (Grupo de Espeleología de Villacarillo – GEV) has been conducting intensive fieldwork in caves of Jaén Province (Spain) (Fig. 1). From 2001 up to now many caves have been studied, but in just two caves (“Sistema de la Murcielaguina” and “Sima de la Colada”) some braconids were captured.

Figure 1. 

Distribution of studied caves. Caves numbers: 1 Sistema de la Murcielaguina 2 Sima de la Colada.

The “Sistema de la Murcielaguina” is located in Cerro de Hornos (38°12'59.35"N, 002°42'37.13"W) at an altitude of 1085 m. The maximum depth of the cave system is 80 m and is more than 4,000 m long (Fig. 2).

Figure 2. 

Map of the Sistema de la Murcielaguina with a red dot where specimens were captured.

The “Sima de la Colada” is located in La Hoya de Herrera (38°11'11.13"N, 002°46'45.83"W) at an altitude of 864 m. The maximum depth of the cave is 65 m and the cave is 352 m long (Fig. 3).

Figure 3. 

Map of the Sima de la Colada with a red dot where specimens were captured.

Both caves are located in the Natural Park and Biosphere reserve of Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and las Villas. Part of it is covered with Mediterranean forest containing Pinus, Quercus, Cistus, Rosmarinus and Thymus species, among others. The climate is warm temperate with moderate temperatures throughout the year (12–18 °C).

Samples were collected by pit-fall traps. All traps are baited with beer, salt and cheese or sobrassada (sausage). In Murcielaguina, specimens were captured in one trap located at 35 m depth, in complete darkness and with an average temperatures of 15 °C and 78% humidity. In Sima de la Colada, specimens were collected in two traps at 65 m depth with average an temperature of 18 °C and 80% humidity.

Specimens were collected during the summer of 2014 and each cave was visited every two weeks.

For terminology of morphological features and sculpture, measurements and wing venation nomenclature, see Sharkey and Wharton (1997) and HAO (Hymenoptera Anatomy Ontology Portal: (Yoder et al. 2010). To follow the identification keys by Peris-Felipo et al. (2014), the following differences in terminology should be kept in mind (terms in Peris-Felipo et al. (2014) second):

Gena: temples.

Anterior tentorial pit: paraclypeal fovea.

Mesoscutal midpit: mesoscutal pit.

Scutoscutellar sulcus: prescutellar depression.

Mesopectus: mesopleuron.

Mesepimeral sulcus: posterior mesopleural furrow.

Marginal cell: radial cell.

Nervulus: vein cu-a.

Second submarginal cell: brachial cell.

Type specimens are deposited in the Entomological Collection at the University of Valencia (Valencia, Spain; ENV), in the Grupo de Espeleología de Villacarillo (Jaén, Spain; GEV), and in the Zoological Institute RAS (St Petersburg, Russia; ZISP).

Taxonomic part

Dinotrema cavernicola Peris-Felipo, sp. n.

Figs 45

Type material

Holotype: female, Spain, Jaén Province, Cerro de Hornos, Sistema de la Murcielaguina, pit-fall trap, - 35 m, (GEV leg.) (ENV). Paratypes: 2 females, same data as holotype (ENV, ZISP); 3 females, Spain, Jaén Province, La Hoya de Herrera, Sima de La Colada, pitfall trap, - 65 m, 17.viii.2014 (GEV leg.) (ENV, GEV, ZISP).



Head. In dorsal view, 1.7 times as wide as long, 1.3 times as wide as mesoscutum (variation 1.2–1.3 times), smooth, with gena rounded behind eyes. Eye in lateral view 1.5 times as high as wide and 1.2 times as wide as gena. POL about as long as OD; OOL 2.3 times OD. Face 1.5 times as wide as high and covered completely by numerous setae; inner margins of eyes subparallel. Clypeus 2.3 times as wide as high, slightly curved ventrally. Anterior tentorial pit short, not reaching halfway between clypeus and eye. Mandible weakly widened towards apex, 1.6 times as long as its maximum width (variation 1.5–1.6 times). Upper tooth medium sized, wide, shorter than lower and middle tooth. Middle tooth rather small, slightly longer than upper tooth, wide basally and pointed apically. Lower tooth short, wide, rounded. Antenna 21-segmented, 1.1 times as long as body. Scape 2.7 times as long as pedicel. First flagellar segment 4.1 times as long as its apical width (variation 4.1–4.2 times), 1.4 times as long as second segment; second segment 2.5 times as long as its maximum width. Third to twentieth flagellar segments 2.3–2.5 times, and twenty-first segment 2.6 times as long as wide.

Mesosoma. In lateral view, 1.1 times as long as high. Mesoscutum (dorsal view) 0.9 times as long as its maximum width, with numerous setae located on middle part of mesoscutum. Notauli mainly absent on vertical surface of mesoscutum. Mesoscutal midpit present and elongate. Scutoscutellar sulcus smooth, without lateral carinae. Precoxal sulcus present, not reaching anterior and posterior margins of mesopectus. Mesepimeral sulcus smooth. Propodeum mainly smooth, median longitudinal carina complete, with several short transverse carinae crossing median carina but not reaching lateral edge of propodeum. Propodeal spiracles relatively small.

Wings. Length of fore wing 2.4 times its maximum width (variation 2.4–2.5 mm). Vein r1 present and sclerotised. Marginal cell reaching apex of wing, 5.0 times as long as its maximum width. Nervulus distinctly postfurcal. Second submarginal cell closed distally, 2.7 times as long as its maximum width (variation 2.6–2.7 times). Hind wing 5.4 times as long as its maximum width (variation 5.3–5.4 times).

Legs. Hind femur 4.0 times as long as its maximum width (variation 3.9–4.0 times). Hind tibia weakly widened to apex, 9.2 times as long as its maximum subapical width, 1.1 times as long as hind tarsus. First segment of hind tarsus 1.7 times as long as second segment.

Metasoma. Long. First tergite weakly widened towards apex, twice as long as its apical width, entirely striate. Ovipositor 1.6 times as long as first tergite, 0.5 times as long as metasoma, 0.9 times as long as hind femur.

Colour. Body, scape, flagellar segments and pterostigma dark brown. Legs, mandible and pedicel yellowish brown. Wings hyaline.

Length. Body 2.7 mm (variation 2.6–2.8 mm); fore wing 3.4 mm (variation 3.4–3.5 mm).

Male. Unknown.

Figure 4. 

Dinotrema cavernicola sp. n. (female). A Habitus, lateral view B Head, lateral view C Mandible D Antenna E Basal segments of antenna F Head, dorsal view.

Figure 5. 

Dinotrema cavernicola sp. n. (female). A Mesosoma, lateral view B Mesonotum, dorsal view C Propodeum, dorsal view D First metasomal tergite E Metasoma, hind leg and ovipositor, lateral view F Fore and hind wings.


Named “cavernicola” because it inhabits caves.

Comparative diagnosis

According to the key by Peris-Felipo et al. (2014), this new species is similar to D. affine (Fischer, 1973) and D. collybiae Munk & Peris-Felipo, 2014, both belonging to the species group with a complete median longitudinal carina on the propodeum. Dinotrema cavernicola sp. n. differs from D. affine and D. collybiae in having the first flagellar segment 4.1–4.2 times as long as wide (3.5 times in D. affine and 3.2 times in D. collybiae), middle flagellar segments 2.3–2.5 times as long as wide (1.6 times in D. affine and 1.4–1.7 times in D. collybiae), metasoma long (short in D. affine and D. collybiae), POL about as long as OD (1.5 times in D. affine and 1.4 times in D. collybiae); OOL 2.3 times OD (3.0 times in D. affine and 2.0 times in D. collybiae), and ovipositor 1.6 times as long as first tergite (0.6 times in D. affine and 1.2 times in D. collybiae).


Specimens belonging to the families Phoridae and Heleomyzidae (Diptera) were captured in the same traps as Dinotrema cavernicola sp. n. Among Phoridae, the species Megaselia rufipes (Meigen, 1804) and M. tenebricola Schmitz, 1934 were abundantly captured (determination by Dr. Henry L. Disney, UK). It is interesting M. rufipes was already recorded as a host of some Braconidae taxa, such as Orthostigma pumilum (Nees) (Scott 1920; Lundbeck 1922; Achterberg 1988), Aspilota sp. near nervosa (Schmitz, 1938) and Dinotrema lineola (Thomson) (Mostovski 2001), as well as Platygaster aegeus Walker (Platygastridae) (Morley 1934). Also, Heteromyza atricornis Meigen, 1830 (Heleomyzidae) was abundantly captured during samples (determination by Dr. Miguel Carles-Tolrá, Barcelona, Spain).


We wish to thank the staff of Consejería de Medio Ambiente de la Junta de Andalucía and the Natural Park and Biosphere reserve of Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas for their help during this study. Also, we are thankful to the members of GEV (Grupo de Espeleología de Villacarrillo) for their great work in increasing the knowledge of fauna caves over the past 13 years, and this year celebrates the group’s 35th anniversary.

We are very thankful Dr H.L. Disney (UK) and Dr Miguel Carles-Tolrá (Barcelona, Spain) (Heleomyzidae) for determination of the flies.


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