Saturday, January 4, 2020

Hyporhicnoda sp. "Panama" = H.litomorpha, & H.reflexa Disscusion...

Another taxonomy post here, this time for species I've never kept in the genus Hyporhicnoda. 😄 Let's start with Hyporhicnoda sp. "Panama", a species that's been cultured in the US for a couple years now, (I believe there's only one culture left, however said colony is apparently on the rebound, and the recent discovery of their love for large pieces of rotten hardwood may hold to the key to culturing them long-term...).

Now according to my research, there are only two species of Hyporhicnoda in Panama. One, H.humilior, has adult females with very rugose, textured exoskeletons, and a very obvious ridge going down the middle of the pronotum and remaining thoracic segments. This does not match the appearance of the female sp. "Panama" in the hobby at all.
The second species, Hyporhicnoda litomorpha, has females that are rather smooth in comparison (according to the original description), they lack the distinct ridge (carina) that species like H.humilior and H.reflexa have, and overall seems like the perfect match for the sp. "Panama" currently in culture.

See this sighting of a presumed H.litomorpha female from Panama, and compare to the below images of the H.sp. "Panama":

Male and female Hyporhicnoda sp. "Panama" ©Alan Jeon
Female Hyporhicnoda sp. "Panama" ©Alan Jeon
Male Hyporhicnoda sp. "Panama" ©Alan Jeon
So yeah, I'm pretty certain the H.sp. "Panama" being cultured in the US are Hyporhicnoda litomorpha, fingers crossed they'll be firmly established in the US hobby soon! 😁 Apparently these were found in rotten logs in the wild, and it appears all the Hyporhicnoda currently in the hobby greatly benefit from being offered large rotten hardwood chunks or small logs to bore into and feed on.

Additionally, I'd like to address the identity of the two Hyporhicnoda "reflexa" localities, both of which are most commonly cultured in Europe. One strain is simply labeled as "Hyporhicnoda reflexa", and the other is labeled "Hyporhicnoda reflexa - Venezuela". Both are very similar to each other in appearance, but apparently exhibit slight behavioral differences, so they may actually be two different species, I'm not sure.

Anyway, according to the original description of Hyporhicnoda reflexa adults, the pronotum and mesonotum have a medio-longitudinal carina, this continued on metanotum in the females, (so basically a pronounced ridge going down the middle of their pronotum and upper back). Female with caudal margin of pronotum, mesonotum, metanotum, and dorsal abdominal segments minutely but conspicuously beaded. Both sexes a uniform brown color, males lighter than females.

Here's a line drawing from that paper, figure 8 is an adult male, figure 9 is an adult female:

However, the females in that reflexa description appear to have been collected in Panama, and I believe they actually became the type specimens for H.humilior... (I'd know for sure if I could access this paper). The adult male was collected in Costa Rica however, and appears to have actually been reflexa.

On the other hand, the male type specimen, (which the above paper states is obviously a nymph, as adult males have fully developed tegmina), quite obviously has a distinct carina and beaded abdominal segments, and seeing as it's the TYPE specimen, and the adult male from Costa Rica also has a carina going down the pronotum and mesonotum, I think we can safely conclude that the adult females of H.reflexa likely also have a carina, beaded abdominal segments, and are probably quite similar to the male nymph type specimen in morphology:

©Cockroach Species File
Now compare the notes in the description, the line drawing, and the male nymph type specimen to the adults of both "reflexa" strains in culture:

Hyporhicnoda sp. "reflexa" female ©Cafarnarium
Hyporhicnoda sp. "reflexa" male ©Cafarnarium
Hyporhicnoda sp. "reflexa - Venezuela" female ©Cafarnarium
Hyporhicnoda sp. "reflexa - Venezuela" male ©Cafarnarium
The males and females of both stocks lack medio-longitudinal carinae, their exoskeletons are relatively smooth in texture, (much like H.litomorpha), and the males are almost black, whereas the paper states that adult male reflexa are brown, and lighter in coloration than the females... Additionally, at least one of these stocks comes from Venezuela, which isn't especially close to the known range of H.reflexa... (Costa Rica and Nicaragua).
Also, see this subadult male of the captive "reflexa" stock here, it clearly looks nothing like the type specimen nymph above.

These are clearly some other Hyporhicnoda species, of that I'm sure, and while we still don't know what adult female H.reflexa look like, the description of the adult male and the holotype male nymph make it quite clear that these two Hyporhicnoda stocks are not Hyporhicnoda reflexa. As for their true identities beyond Hyporhicnoda spp., I'm not sure...

Anyways, that's gonna do it for this post everyone, special thanks to Alan Jeon and Nicolas Rousseaux (of the Cafarnarium) for the use of their pictures! I hope you all found this post informative, thanks for reading, I'll see you all next time! 😉

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