Brasiella acuniae (Mutchler, 1924)

While thawing U.S. and Cuba relations are in the news here is a forgotten resident of Cuba: Brasiella acuniae (Mutchler, 1924); pictured is specimen from the Smithsonian’s entomological collections.

acuniae

Andrew J. Mutchler, curator of the Coleoptera at the American Museum of Natural History at that time, described this species in 1924 from eleven specimens collected in the Camaguey Province of Cuba. The first, and most striking aspect of this species is its diminutive size. Mutchler noted male beetles varied from 5 to 5.5mm in length, while females measured 5.5 to 6mm!

This species is smaller than any which has heretofore been described from the West Indies. It approaches viridicollis in the general color of the head and thorax, but the labrum, which is squarely truncate in viridicollis, is pointed at the middle in acuniae; also the white markings on the elytra, when present, are differently located and the metallic markings in acuniae, especially along the subsutural region, are represented by a row of somewhat large foveae, whereas in viridicollis the metallic markings are of approximately the same size on the whole elytra. The color of the under surface is similar in both species.

On the habitat in which the specimens were collected:

The Camaguey or Puerto Principe Province, where the specimens were obtained, is an immense plain, interrupted in a slight degree by hills belonging to the groups of Cubitee and Najash, situated respectively north and south of the capital, the city of Camaguey, which is located approximately in the center of the province.

The specific epithet is a patronym honoring the collector Julian Acuna:

The specimens representing a new form of Cicindelidae were kindly sent to this Museum by Mr. Stephen J. Bruner, Chief of the Department of Pathology and Entomology of the Estacion Experimental Agronomica, located at Santiago de las Vegas, Havana Province, Cuba. In an accompanying leter he states that the material was collected in the Camaguey Province, by a former assistant, Julian Acuna.

The American Museum of Natural History has a collection entry with an image of a type specimen and the full species description is available online through the AMNH.

Brasiella acuniae

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