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A new species of the genus Molothrognathus Summers and Schlinger (Acari: Caligonellidae) from Kurdistan province, Iran

Amini, Fatemeh1; Khanjani, Mohammad2 and Khanjani, Masoumeh3

1Department of Plant Protection, College of Agriculture, Bu – Ali Sina University, Hamedan, Iran.
2✉Department of Plant Protection, College of Agriculture, Bu – Ali Sina University, Hamedan, Iran.
3Department of Plant Protection, College of Agriculture, Bu – Ali Sina University, Hamedan, Iran.

2018 - Volume: 58 Issue: 4 pages: 875-880

DOI: 10.24349/acarologia/20184293
ZooBank LSID: BA056D8B-85DD-4E34-BAF1-F099E8B06141


soil apple tree predators arthropods Qorveh


Molothrognathus kurdistaniensis sp. nov. is described and illustrated based on females collected from soil under apple trees, Qorveh, Kurdistan province, Iran. A key to all known Iranian species of the genus Molothrognathus is provided.


Members of family Caligonellidae are predators feeding on small arthropods and with a world-wide distribution (Fan and Zhang 2005). This family contains 5 genera and all of them have been recorded from Iran (Silva et al. 2017; Bayzavi et al. 2013). The genus Molothrognathus was described by Summers & Schlinger (1955) and currently contains 26 species, of which 11 species have been recorded from Iran, namely: M. azizi Ueckermann & Khanjani 2003; M. bahariensis Ueckermann & Khanjani 2003; M. fulgidus Summers & Schlinger 1955; M. mehrnejadi Liang & Zhang 1997; M. mikaeeli Ahani-Azad & Bagheri 2012; M. minutus Soliman 1971; M. phytocolus Meyer & Ueckermann 1989; M. terrulentus Meyer & Ueckermann 1989; M. tumipalpus Meyer & Ueckermann 1989, M. paratumipapus Bagheri, Maleki & Changizi 2013 and M. shirazicus Khanjani, Bakhshi & Khanjani 2016. Here, M. kurdistaniensis sp. nov. from Qorveh city, Kurdistan province, Iran is described.

Materials and methods

Mites were collected from soil under apple trees, in Kurdistan province and mounted directly in Hoyer’s medium. The specimens were measured, identified and drawn by means of an Olympus BX51 differential interference contrast (DIC) microscope under 1000X magnification and equipped with a drawing tube. Body length measurements represent the distance between setae v1-h1; width was measured above coxae III. Setae were measured from their insertion to their tips; distance between setae was measured as the distance between their insertions. Legs were measured from the base of the trochanter to the pretarsus (base of claws).

The terminology and abbreviations used in the description of the new species follows that of Lindquist (1985). All measurements are given in micrometers and the measurements of the paratypes are given in parentheses.

Family Caligonellidae, Grandjean, 1944

Genus: Molothrognathus Summers & Schlinger, 1955

Type species: Molothrognathus leptostylus Summers & Schlinger, 1955

Molothrognathus kurdistaniensis sp. nov. (Figures 1–2)

ZOOBANK: 3F376272-2A93-4894-8578-303A5BCB0068

Dorsal integument with coarse, dual, striae; all dorsal setae terminally blunt. Palp tarsus with one solenidion (ω) and three terminal eupathidia; palp tibia swollen, with a claw and two setae and three times as long as palp tarsus; trochanters I-IV and femur IV without setae, genua I-II with 4(+κ)–4, tibiae II-IV each with one blunt seta; tarsi I-IV with 11(+ω)–7(+ω)–7–6.

Material Examined — Holotype female and two female paratypes collected from soil under apple trees Malus domestica Borkh. (Rosaceae), Iran, Kurdistan Province, Qorveh city (35º 20′ N, 47º 52′ E and altitude 1906 m a.s.l), 20 September 2014, Fatemeh Amini. Holotype and paratype females are deposited as slide-mounted specimens in the Collection of the Acarology Laboratory, University of Bu-Ali Sina, Hamadan, Iran.


Female (n=3) — Measurements of holotype with measurements of paratypes in parentheses: Length of body (v1-h1) 215(195–201); width 162(160–163).

Dorsum (Figures 1A-B) — Dorsal integument with coarse, dual, striae; idiosoma with longitudinal striae except area between setae d1-h1 with transverse striae; dorsal cupules absent; prodorsum with two pairs of eyes (Fig. 1A). Dorsum with 11 pairs of smooth and terminally blunt setae (Fig. 1B). Lengths of dorsal setae as follows: v1 14(14–15), v2 15(13–15), sc1 16(14–17), sc2 16(14–15), c1 13(13–16), c 2 15(14–15), d1 14(13–15), e1 13(11–14), f1 10(12), h1 11(10-12), h2 11(10-11). Distances between dorsal setae: v1–v1 23(24–26), v2–v2 42(39–43), sc1sc1 95(92–94), sc2–sc2 150(145–148), c1–c1 33(31–34), c2c2 125(119–127), d1–d1 30(35–39), e1e1 65(58–64), f1f1 38(37), h1h1 28(30), h2–h2 66(53–59), v1–v2 19(24–26), v2–sc1 34(25–28), sc1–sc2 45(40–53), c1–c 2 46(42–48), c1–d1 44(39–44), d1e1 39(34–40), e1f1 37(30), f1–h1 30(23–27).

Venter (Figure 1C) — Ventral cuticle with longitudinal striae except area behind setae 4a to posterior to setae ag with transverse striae; endopodal shields absent. Length of setae: 1a 13(11–14), 1b 13(15–17), 2c 11(10–13), 3a 13(12–15), 3b 10(9), 4a 14(12–15), 4b 11(10–14), ag 11(11–13), g 9(9), ps1 7(8–10). Aggenital and genital shields with one pair of setae. Anal plate with one pair of setae.

Gnathosoma (Figures 1D-E) — Subcapitulum with one pair of subcapitular setae, m 9(8–9), two pairs of adoral setae or1 4(5–6), or2 5(4–5) (Fig. 1D). Chelicerae 39(40–43) and movable digit 28(24-26) depicted in figure 1D. Palp five-segmented, palp tarsus with one solenidion (ω) and three terminal eupathidia; palp tibia swollen, with two setae and one well developed claw and three times as long as palp tarsus; palp genu and palp femur with one dorsal seta each (Fig. 1E).

Figure 1. Molothrognathus kurdistaniensis sp. nov. — Female: A — Dorsal view; B — Dorsal setae (v1); C — Ventral view, D — Subcapitulum and Palp; E — Chelicerae.

Legs (Figures 2A-D) — Leg I 117(128); leg II 113(110–118); leg III 94(96–100), leg IV 104(103–110); setal formulae of leg segments (solenidia in parentheses and not included in setal counts) as follows: coxae 2–1–1–1; trochanters 0–0–0–0; femora 2–2–2–0; genua 4(+κ)–4–2–2; tibiae 4 (+φ)–1–1–1; tarsi 11(+ω)–7(+ω)–7–6. Length of solenidia: Iω 3(3), IIω 2(2). Iφ 2(2), Iκ 5(4–5). Setal variation on tarsi I-IV were examined, one specimen had the asymmetrical setal count of 7/8 on tarsus II and two specimens with 6/7 and 5/6 setae on tarsus IV.

Figure 2. Molothrognathus kurdistaniensis sp. nov. — Female: A — Leg I; B — Leg II; C — Leg III; D — Leg IV.

Remarks — The new species Molothrognathus kurdistaniensis sp. nov. resembles M. tumipalpus Meyer and Ueckermann, 1989 in having: trochanters I-IV without seta, same dorsal integument and palp tibia swollen and three times as long as palp tarsus. However, it differs from the latter in: coxa II with one seta in the new species instead of without setae; femur IV without setae in the new species versus one seta and palp tarsus with three eupathidia in M. kurdistaniensis sp. nov. instead of with four eupathidia in M. tumipalpus. The new species is also similar to M. paratumipalpus Bagheri, Maleki and changizi, 2013, in that palp tibia is swollen and three times as long as palp tarsus and genua II-IV with 4-2-2 setae. However, M. kurdistaniensis differs from the latter in: trochanters I-IV without setae instead of one seta each in M. paratumipalpus, dorsal cupules absent versus with three pairs of cupules in M. paratumipalpus and tibiae I-IV 4 (+φ)–1–1–1 in the new species instead of 5(+φ)–4–4–4 in M. paratumipalpus.

Male and Immature Stages — Unknown.

Etymology — The new species is named after locality of Kurdistan province, where type specimens were collected.

Key to species of the genus Molothrognathus in Iran (females)

1. Palptarsus small, about one-third the length of tibial claw of the palpus
...... 2

— Palptarsus as long as or longer than the length of tibial claw of the palpus
...... 4

2. Genua III-IV with 2 setae; coxae II with 1 seta
...... 3

— Genua III-IV with 1 seta; tibiae III-IV with 2 setae
...... M. tumipalpus Meyer & Ueckermann

3. Trochanters I-IV without setae; dorsal cupules absent
...... M. kurdistaniensis sp. nov.

— Trochanters I-IV with 1 seta; dorsal cupules present
...... M. paratumipalpus Bagheri, Maleki & Changizi

4. Setae sc2 as long as c2 and clearly longer than other dorsal setae
...... 5

— Setae sc2 and c2 not equally long
...... 7

5. Prodorsum with large shield medially; setae sc2 and c2 ≤ 85
...... M. terrulentus Meyer & Ueckermann

— Prodorsum without median shield, setae sc2 and c2 ≥ 98
...... 6

6. Setae f1 91–123 long; tarsus I 16(+ω) setae
...... M. bahariensis Ueckermann & Khanjani

— Setae f1 38–44 long; tarsus I 15(+ω) setae
...... M. azizi Ueckermann & Khanjani

7. Setae c2 as long as setae v2 and longer than setae v1, sc1; dorsal pores absent
...... M. minutus Soliman

— Setae c2 as long as or longer than setae v1, v2 and sc1; dorsal pores present
...... 8

8. Setae c2 longer than setae v1-2, sc1, c1, d1 and e1; setae h3 present
...... 9

— Setae c2 as long as setae v1-2, sc1, c1, d1 and e1; setae h3 absent
...... M. mikaeeli Ahaniazad & Bagheri

9. Tarsi II and IV with 9(+ω) and 10 setae respectively
...... M. mehrnejadi Liang & Zhang

— Tarsi II and IV with 10(+ω) and 9 setae respectively
...... 10

10. Tarsi I with 15(+ω) setae; prodorsum medially with week striae or smooth and shield-like
...... 11

— Tarsi I with 16(+ω) setae, prodorsum striated medially, without shield
...... M. fulgidus Summers & Schlinger

11. Area between setae v1-d1 with smooth shield; setae h1-2 45–56 long
...... M. shirazicus Khanjani, Bakhshi& Khanjani

— Area between setae v1-d1 with week striae; setae h1-2 25–32 long
...... M. phytocolus Meyer & Ueckermann


This article is a part of the Ph. D thesis program in Agricultural Entomology of senior author and was supported by the University of Bu-Ali Sina, Iran.


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© 2018 Amini, Fatemeh; Khanjani, Mohammad and Khanjani, Masoumeh


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