Mesoleptidea Viereck, 1912

Taxonomic History / Nomenclature
Mesoleptidea Viereck, 1912: 176. Type species: Mesoleptus cingulatus Gravenhorst. Original designation.

Gnathonophorus Schmiedeknecht, 1912: 2519. Type species: Gnathonophorus moricei Schmiedeknecht, 1913. Subsequently included by Schmiedeknecht (1913) in a sequentially paginated publication spanning four years. Synonymized by Townes et al. (1965: 265).

According to Townes et al. (1965: 265), Viereck’s publication takes the date of September 30, 1912 whereas Schmiedeknecht’s description appeared in November of that year.

_Mesoleptidea is Holarctic in distribution.
The following valid species were included by Yu et al. (2012).

Mesoleptidea cingulata (Gravenhorst, 1829)
Mesoleptidea decens (Cresson, 1868)
Mesoleptidea flavifrons (Cresson, 1864)
Mesoleptidea hilaris (Gravenhorst, 1829)
Mesoleptidea hohenwartensis (Schmiedeknecht, 1913)
Mesoleptidea hungarica (Kiss, 1929)
Mesoleptidea kodiakensis (Ashmead, 1902)
Mesoleptidea melanobasis (Kriechbaumer, 1896)
Mesoleptidea mellea (Cresson, 1868)
Mesoleptidea moricei (Schmiedeknecht, 1913)
Mesoleptidea petiolator (Zetterstedt, 1838)
Mesoleptidea prosoleuca (Gravenhorst, 1820)
Mesoleptidea stalii (Holmgren, 1858)
Mesoleptidea sylvatica (Woldstedt, 1874)
Mesoleptidea unalaskae (Ashmead, 1902)

Mesoleptidea cingulata (Gravenhorst, 1829) and Mesoleptidea prosoleuca (Gravenhorst, 1820) have large numbers of junior synonyms.

Diagnosis and Relationships
Mesoleptidea is highly variable, but the impressed, sharp-edged clypeal margin and long, slender body assist in its identification. In some species, the transverse bulge across the clypeus is fairly large and the narrow, impressed margin can be overlooked and thus making identification difficult using existing keys to genera (e.g. Townes 1970).
Clypeus (Fig. 2) broad, surface nearly smooth to distinctly punctate; with transverse bulge, the ventral margin sharp, weakly to strongly impressed below the bulge; ventral margin highly variable in shape from evenly convex to truncate as in Fig. 2, to medially concave; when truncate or concave, lateral portion angled dorsally as in Fig. 2; epistomal sulcus varying from distinctly delineated as in Fig. 2 to broad, shallow, poorly indicated; clypeus in profile weakly protruding. Inner eye margins parallel. Malar space (Fig. 2) varying from about 0.5-1.0 times basal width of mandible; malar sulcus absent. Mandible (Fig. 2) long, tapering gradually from base to apex or with apical 0.5 more or less parallel-sided; ventral tooth equal in length or very slightly longer than dorsal tooth; ventral margin distinctly carinate. Maxillary palp equal to or slightly shorter than height of head; antenna (Fig. 3) usually as long as or longer than body; first flagellomere usually very long. Ocelli small, diameter of lateral ocellus less than distance from lateral ocellus to eye. Hypostomal carina meeting occipital carina well above base of mandible; occipital carina complete dorsally. Epomia present in most species examined; many species with anterior portion of pronotum abruptly elevated as seen in profile. Epicnemial carina reaching anterior margin of mesopleuron in nearly all (90%) of species examined. Notaulus present on anterior declivity usually as a distinct impression, rarely sculptured, becoming more faint and on disk where it is short in some species, not extending to tegula, and long in others, reaching posterior margin or large, median-posterior depression, but never deeply impressed posteriorly. Groove between propodeum and metapleuron absent to weakly indicated, not u-shaped as in pionines; pleural carina present, well-developed throughout in some species, weak to absent or nearly so posteriorly in others; propodeal carinae completely absent in some species; otherwise, median longitudinal carinae parallel-sided, often narrowly so, when present, often absent or present only at extreme apex, lateral longitudinal carina absent or incomplete, rarely extending from posterior margin as far anteriorly as spiracle, transverse carinae absent. Legs with apical margin of mid tibia only weakly expanded into a tooth: not similar to that of fore leg; apical comb on posterior side of hind tibia well-developed; posterior hind tibial spur long, nearly always more than 0.3 times length of long, thin, hind basitarsus (Figs 4, 5); tarsal claws not pectinate; fifth tarsomere of hing leg normal in size (Fig 4), only very rarely unusually elongate (relative to fourth). Fore wing (Fig. 6) usually with areolet absent, more rarely present; stigma varying among species: longer and narrower in some with Rs+2r arising near basal 0.3, shorter and broader in others, with Rs+2r arising near midpoint. Hind wing (Fig. 6) with first abscissa of CU1 longer than 1cu-a. T1 relatively long, slender (Fig. 7), never strongly expanding posteriorly; ventral margin straight or decurved in profile; dorsal carinae absent; basal depression at dorsal tendon attachment absent or nearly so; dorsal-lateral carina somewhat ventrally displaced, complete between spiracle and apex of T1; glymma absent. S1 usually extending a little posterior to level of spiracle, sometimes distinctly so. T2 thyridium distinct in nearly all species but variable in size and shape among species; laterotergites of T2 and T3 separated by creases from median tergite. Ovipositor and sheath (Fig. 8) about as in Hadrodactylus though sometimes a bit longer; ovipositor with dorsal, subapical notch. The species are generally long and very slender.

The above description is modified from Townes (1970), and based on numerous specimens, representing at least 10 species, in the Texas A&M University collection. Townes (1970: 262, 263) provides good figures of variation, especially of the clypeus and propodeum.

1. Mesoleptidea habitus...
2. Mesoleptidea face...
3. Mesoleptid...
4. Mesolep...
5. Mesolepti...
6.Mesoleptidea wings
7.Mesoleptidea T1
8. Mesoleptidea ovipositor...
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. Page last updated April, 2015.

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, Gavin Broad of The Natural History Museum, London, and Andy Bennett of the Canadian National Collection for extended loans of material used in this study. We also thank David Wahl for useful feedback throughout our study, Dave Karlsson for the opportunity to examine material from the Swedish Malaise Trap Survey (trap 22, collection event 1638; trap 60, collection event 215), and Al Gillogly for material from Idaho. Matt Yoder provided considerable assistance with databasing issues, and our use of PURLs ( in this regard follows the example of their use in publications by Norm Johnson. Heather Cummins, Andrea Walker, Patricia Mullins, Caitlin Nessner, Amy James, Karl Roeder, Danielle Restuccia, and Cheryl Hyde graciously assisted us 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 nos DEB 0616851, 0723663, 0822676, 0923134, and 1026618.

This material is based upon work at Texas A&M University supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number DEB 0328922 with REU supplements DEB 0616851, 0723663, 0822676, 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.