Tuesday, April 6, 2021

[Entomology • 2018] Varthemapistra edentata • A New Genus of Anthophorine Bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae) from Brunei

Varthemapistra edentata 
Engel, 2018

A new genus
of anthophorine bees (Apinae: Anthophorini) is described and figured from a remarkable female collected in eastern Brunei (northern Borneo). Varthemapistra edentata Engel, new genus and species, is most similar to species of Habrophorula Lieftinck, which occur in southeastern China, and Elaphropoda Lieftinck, found broadly across Southeast Asia.  Habrophorula and the new genus both have the third submarginal cell broad anteriorly and posteriorly.  Unique among anthophorines, V. edentata has a simple female mandible, while other Anthophorini have bidentate or tridentate mandibles.  The genus is described and figured, and a revised key to the genera of Anthophorini provided.

Keywords: Anthophila; Apoidea; Apidae; Apinae; Anthophorini

Figures 1–2. Holotype female of Varthemapistra edentata, new genus and species, from Brunei.
1. Lateral habitus. 2. Dorsal habitus.

Figures 3–6. Holotype female of Varthemapistra edentata, new genus and species, from Brunei.
3. Facial view. 4. Mandible. 5. Metabasitibial plate. 6. Profle of head.

Tribe Anthophorini Dahlbom
Varthemapistra Engel, new genus

Diagnosis: The new genus can be distinguished in the female from other anthophorines by the simple mandible, lacking any preapical teeth (Fig. 4) (note that this is not the result of mandibular wear: vide etiam Discussion, infra).  In addition the combination of a weakly protuberant clypeus, linear malar space, metatibia with setae on outer surface distinctly fuscous medially, and forewing with the anterior border of the third submarginal cell only slightly shorter than the posterior border further serve to char-acterize the genus among other Anthophorini, in the female sex.

Etymology: The new generic name is a combination of Varthema; after Ludovico di Varthema (1470–1517), the Italian explorer who, among other things, was apparently the earliest to record accounts of Brunei based on his possible visit to the then Empire in 1505 (Temple, 1928: it should be noted, however, that while his account accords with a visit to Brunei, he may have landed elsewhere on Borneo and learned trade details from other ports on the island, e.g., Vienne, 2015); and the Latin apis (meaning, “bee”), and –istra, the diminutive suffix referencing “wild resemblance”.  The gender of the name is feminine.

Varthemapistra edentata Engel, new species

Etymology: The specific epithet refers to the absence of preapical teeth on the fe-male mandible.

Michael S. Engel. 2018. A New Genus of Anthophorine Bees from Brunei (Hymenoptera: Apidae).  Journal of Melittology. 78; 1–13. DOI: 10.17161/jom.v0i78.7488