Coriophagus casui

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fig. 1: Halictophagus sp. female with emergent triungulin in cicadellid host


Ordo: Strepsiptera
Familia: Halictophagidae



  • Coriophagus casui was the second of two species of Strepsiptera so far described from New Zealand. The species was based on a unique male specimen, collected in a light trap near the Waitakere Ranges, Auckland. Elsewhere in the world, members of this genus are parasites of Heteroptera. The only other described New Zealand strepsipteran species, Elenchus maorianus is a parasite of delphacids.

Taxonomic notes

  • unfortunately, Coriophagus casui almost certainly belongs in fact to the genus Halictophagus, parasites of Cicadellidae
  • Unassociated males of these two genera can be very difficult to tell apart, and Don Cowley had no previous experience in Strepsiptera taxonomy
  • My investigations have revealed no evidence for strepsipteran parasitism of Heteroptera in New Zealand, but plenty of evidence for strepsipteran parasitism of cicadellids (e.g. see Prestidge, 1989: 57), though male strepsipterans are extremely hard to find
  • I have seen several cicadellids parasitised by females of what are clearly Halictophagus (see fig. 1), some of them from within just a few kilometres of the type locality of Coriophagus casui
  • Cowley (1985: 353) noted a case of strepsipteran parasitism of cicadellids, based on a female from the southern part of the South Island, but did not associate it with his male because 'females of the Coriophaginae, however, parasitise Heteroptera'
  • Therefore, the presence in New Zealand of Coriophagus/strepsipteran parasites of Heteroptera must be viewed with great suspicion.


Stephen Thorpe 03:20, 4 March 2011 (CET)