Opheltes Holmgren, 1859

Taxonomic History / Nomenclature
Opheltes Holmgren, 1859: 323. Type species: Ichneumon glaucopterus Linnaeus, 1758. Monobasic.

Nephopheltes Cushman, 1924: 16. Type species: Nephopheltes japonicus Cushman, 1924. Original designation. Synonymized by Townes (1945).

There are two valid species:
Opheltes glaucopterus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Opheltes japonicus (Cushman, 1924)

The latest treatments (such as Yu et al. 2005) list a number of synonyms as well as subspecies, somewhat complicating the ability to differentiate the taxa.

Diagnosis and Relationships
Opheltes contains the largest-bodied species in the Perilissini, comparable in size to some of the Australian Westwoodiini, which are the largest of the Ctenopelmatinae. In addition to the very large body size, a defining feature is the frontal carina and associated lateral groove near the eye (Fig. 1), especially well-developed in the type species. Another interesting feature is the broad, cleaver-shaped second maxillary palpomere. The cerci are long and narrow, protruding in both sexes and 3-4 x longer than wide. As in Metopheltes, the mesopleuron has a complete longitudinal groove (Fig. 2), the T2 thyridium is present, and a tyloid is absent on the first flagellomere. See additional discussion under the Metopheltes page.
1. carina on frons adjacent...
2.longitudinal ridge on mesopleuron
Clypeus (Fig 3) with ventral margin thick and bluntly rounded, without small lateral tooth or projection; ventral margin convex; epistomal sulcus present as a broad, shallow indentation, clypeus weakly protruding in profile. Malar space distinct, at least half basal width of mandible. Mandible short, broad, ventral and dorsal tooth of equal length. Ocelli large, lateral ocellus equal to or a little longer than distance between ocellus and eye. Maxillary palp relatively long, slightly longer than head height; second palpomere, especially in female, unusually broad, cleaver-shaped; female antennae nearly as long as body; first flagellomere with no apparent tyloid. Hypostomal carina joining occipital carina well above base of mandible; occipital carina complete. Dorsal end of epicnemial carina a little removed from anterior margin of mesopleuron, terminating dorsally in rounded ridge that somewhat sharply delimits a median longitudinal furrow extending across the middle of the mesopleuron (Fig. 5). Notaulus deeply impressed on anterior declivity but very short, rarely extending posteriorly as a weak impression to level of tegula. U-shaped groove large, distinct between propodeum and metanotum in lateral view; pleural carina complete, well-developed; propodeum with strongly elevated longitudinal carinae, the pair of median longitudinal carinae forming a narrow, anteriorly converging areola; transverse carinae varying from nearly absent laterally to well developed. Apical margin of mid tibia with distinct tooth similar to that on fore tibia in females, poorly developed in males; comb on hind tibia present, but not well developed; posterior hind tibial spur at least 7x longer than maximum width at base; tarsal claws completely pectinate. Fore wing areolet nearly always present (Fig. 2), only rarely absent; stigma long, narrow, Rs+2r arising near base of stigma. Hind wing (Fig. 2) with first abscissa of CU1 usually distinctly shorter than 1cu-a, more rarely only slightly shorter. T1 long, slender, usually without dorsal carinae; without median basal depression at dorsal tendon attachment; dorsal-lateral carina absent between spiracle and apex of T1; glymmae on each side meeting on the midline posterior to dorsal tendon attachment, large, deep, separated at midline by translucent partition. T2 thyridium present; laterotergite of T2 completely separated by crease, that of T3, sharply separated only at extreme base. Ovipositor straight, short, broad, with deep subapical notch; ovipositor sheath straight, relatively narrow, bluntly rounded apically. Male parameres weakly excavated medially, attenuate apically to form slender, rounded projections, though these never as long, slender, and pointed as in Mesochorus and some Neurogenia; aedeagus rounded and weakly clubbed distally, without spines.
1. Opheltes glaucopterus late...
2. Opheltes glaucopterus do...
3. Opheltes glauco...
4. Opheltes glaucopterus to...
5.Opheltes glaucopterus mesopleuron
6. Opheltes glaucopt...
The type species is widely distributed in the Holarctic Region, apparently overlapping the second known species in the eastern Palaearctic (China and Japan).
No referenced distribution records have been added to the database for this OTU.
Biology / Hosts
Several hosts have been recorded for O. glaucopterus and the most reliable of these appear to be several species in the genus Cimbex and at least one species of Palaeocimbex (Cimbicidae). Cimbex is the only host listed by Townes (1970), though this is not immediately apparent since he used the unavailable name_Clavellarius_. There are several older records from lepidopterans including a lymantriid, lasiocampids, and sphingids but I regard these with some suspicion and all lepidopteran records should be verified. Sheng et al. (2004) more recently recorded a cimbicid host for O. japonicus in China.

There are no specimens currently determined for this OTU, or those specimens determined for this OTU are not yet mappable.

This page was assembled by Bob Wharton as part of a larger collaborative effort on the genera of Ctenopelmatinae. This work would not have been possible without the groundwork provided by Ian Gauld’s study of the Australian and Costa Rican faunas, and we are particularly grateful for his assistance in many aspects of this study. We also thank David Wahl for useful feedback throughout our study and to Gavin Broad for exchange of information on Perilissini. Matt Yoder provided considerable assistance with databasing issues, and our use of PURLs (http://purl.oclc.org) in this regard follows the example of their use in publications by Norm Johnson. Andrea Walker, Amanda Ladigo, Heather Cummins, and Cheryl Hyde graciously assisted with image capture, processing, formatting, and literature retrieval. This study was supported by the National Science Foundation’s PEET program under Grant No. DEB 0328922 and associated REU supplement nos DEB 0723663 and 1026618. Page last updated February, 2011.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number DEB 0328922 with REU supplements DEB 0723663 and number 1026618.
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.