Lethades Davis, 1897

Taxonomic History / Nomenclature
Lethades Davis, 1897: 204.
Type species: Adelognathus texanus Ashmead, 1890. Monobasic.
The following valid species were included by Yu et al. (2012).

Lethades amauronemati (Hinz, 1961)
Lethades buriator Aubert, 1987
Lethades cingulator Hinz, 1976
Lethades curvispina (Thomson, 1883)
Lethades erichsonii Hinz, 1996
Lethades facialis (Brischke, 1871)
Lethades imperfecti Hinz, 1996
Lethades kukakensis (Ashmead, 1902)
Lethades lapponator Hinz. 1976
Lethades lapponicus (Holmgren, 1857)
Lethades laricis Hinz, 1976
Lethades punctatissimus (Strobl, 1903)
Lethades scabriculus (Thomson, 1883)
Lethades schaffneri (Hinz, 1996)
Lethades schmiedeknechti Hinz, 1996
Lethades texanus (Ashmead, 1890)

A revision of the European species, including a key and much new information, was published posthumously by Hinz (1996) , edited by Horstmann.

Diagnosis and Relationships
The genus Lethades is difficult to characterize because of variation in key characteristics among the undescribed, putative species that Townes (1970) considered to be members of this genus. We have examined the Townes material in the AEI and agree that that are quite a few distinctive, undescribed species with pionine-like ovipositors that cannot be readily included in any of the other described genera though some do approach Glyptorhaestus while others approach Trematopygus. There is one apparent species group with the ovipositor sheath strongly curved and distinctively narrowing from base to apex (as in Figs 27-28 in the description section). This group, and the group exemplified by a short, straight ovipositor and punctate meatasoma (Figs 19, 20, 26) have hind wing 1cu-a relatively long compared to other species examined, all of which have narrower sheaths and ovipositors.


Clypeus relatively small, with surface uniformly setose and distinctly punctate (Figs 7, 9); ventral margin evenly convex, the margin blunt but not broadly so; epistomal sulcus varying from weakly to distinctly impressed throughout; clypeus in profile flat to moderately convex, weakly protruding (Figs 11-12). Face setose, varying from densely punctate to granular-punctate/shagreened, usually with matching sculpture on frons and vertex; inner eye margins more or less parallel (Figs 7-9). Malar space distinct, about 0.4-0.8 x basal width of mandible; malar sulcus nearly always absent. Mandible (Figs 7-10) not strongly curved; dorsal tooth usually slightly shorter than ventral tooth though occasionally very slightly broader; basal, transverse impression absent or indistinct; ventral margin sharp, carinate. Maxillary palp shorter than height of head; antenna slightly to distinctly shorter than body, at least in female and some males. Hypostomal carina meeting occipital carina a short distance above base of mandible; occipital carina complete. Dorsal end of epicnemial carina distant from anterior margin of mesopleuron, though sometimes only narrowly so. Notaulus quite variable among species: varying from absent or apparently so to short and shallowly impressed to deeply impressed and extending to level of tegula; barely indicated in type species but type species poorly preserved (Figs 5, 11, 13, 14). Groove between propodeum and metapleuron moderately to broadly u-shaped, visible in ventral-lateral view, but sometimes difficult to see due to dense setae; broad, u-shaped groove mid-dorsally between propodeum and metanotum readily visible in lateral view; pleural carina well-developed, complete; propodeum generally well-carinated but varying among species: median longitudinal carinae well developed throughout, widening vase-like posteriorly, lateral longitudinal carina sometimes complete (Fig. 17), otherwise variously effaced anteriorly or posteriorly, though rarely completely so; posterior transverse carina usually complete laterally and medially, anterior transverse carina usually absent medially, thus areola usually open anteriorly. Apical margin of mid tibia expanded into a distinct tooth similar to that of fore leg in some species, but not others; apical comb on posterior side of hind tibia absent or very poorly developed; posterior hind tibial spur about 7x longer than maximum width at base, 0.3-0.5x length of basitarsus. Fore wing areolet nearly always present (Figs 2-6), rarely absent; stigma short, broad (Figs 3, 6), Rs+2r arising at or just basad middle of stigma. Hind wing with first abscissa of CU1 usually very much longer than 1cu-a and strongly inclivous (Figs 1-3), but only slightly longer in some species (as in Fig. 4). T1 (Figs 17-19) distinctly broadening from base to apex, never long, narrow and parallel-sided; weakly decurved to distinctly arched in profile (Figs 1, 2); dorsal carinae usually poorly developed and not extending distad basal depression of tendon attachment, but in at least one species extending full length of tergite (to posterior margin); basal depression at dorsal tendon attachment distinct; dorsal-lateral carina complete between spiracle and apex of T1 in about half the species examined; glymma present near base, usually deep, extending less than half distance to spiracle in some species but nearly to spiracle in others. S1 extending to posterior margin of glymma, thus varying in length from very short to nearly half length of T1. T2 thyridium absent; laterotergites of T2 and T3 separated by creases from median tergite. Ovipositor and sheath (Figs 22-30) varying from straight to distinctly upcurved; ovipositor relatively shorter than in Pion but varying in length among species (Figs 1-3), needle-like throughout; without dorsal, subapical notch.

This description is expanded from that given by Townes (1970), who also provided a key to genera of Pionini. This redescription is based on specimens in the Texas A&M University collection and material borrowed from the CNC and AEI as well as the primary types of Lethades texanus (Ashmead) and L. kukakensis (Ashmead), both borrowed from the USNM.

1. Lethades texanus habitus...
2. Lethades kukakensis habi...
3. Lethades AEI sp. 6 habit...
4.Lethades sp 1
5. Lethades texanus holotyp...
6.Lethades sp 2
7. Lethades texanus holotyp...
8. Lethades sp 2 face...
9. Lethades near curvispina...
10. Lethades AEI sp. 7 clype...
11. Lethades texanus holotyp...
12. Lethades AEI sp. 6 head,...
13. Lethades texanus holotyp...
14. Lethades texanus holotyp...
15. Lethades texanus holotyp...
16. Lethades texanus holotyp...
17. Lethades texanus holotyp...
18. Lethades sp 2 T1 and T2...
19. Lethades sp 1 metasoma...
20. Lethades sp 1 metasoma...
21. Lethades AEI sp. 6 metas...
22. Lethades texanus holotyp...
23. Lethades texanus holotyp...
24. Lethades AEI sp. 7 ovipo...
25. Lethades AEI sp. 6 ovipo...
26. Lethades sp 1 ovipositor...
27. Lethades sp 2 ovipositor...
28. Lethades sp 2 metasoma l...
29. Lethades near curvispina...
30. Lethades kukakensis meta...
The genus is Holarctic Townes (1970).
No referenced distribution records have been added to the database for this OTU.

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 of the American Entomological Institute (AEI), Bob Kula of the USDA/Systematic Entomology Laboratory (USNM), and Andy Bennett of the Canadian National Collection (CNC) for extended loans of the material used for this study and also Dave Karlsson for sending valuable material from the Swedish Malaise Trap Survey (Trap 50, collection event 1222). 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. Heather Cummins, Andrea Walker, Caitlin Nessner, Amanda Ladigo, Cheryl Hyde and in particular Patricia Mullins graciously assisted with image 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 #s DEB 0723663, 0923134, and 1026618. Page last updated March, 2015.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number DEB 0328922 with REU supplements DEB 0723663, 0923134, and 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.