by Norman D. Penny
California Academy of Sciences
David E. Bowles
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
At the first international symposium of Neuropterology in 1980 it was agreed that there should be a newsletter created among neuropterists to generate more communication. Phil Adams agreed to begin editing this newsletter, and one issue was produced and disseminated in which a very valuable list of names and addresses of neuropterists appeared. Unfortunately, this newsletter soon went into diapause when no one came forth with news for the newsletter.
At the informal conference on Neuropteroids at the national Entomology Society of America meetings in Indianapolis, it was agreed that we should create a newsletter among North American Neuroptera workers to facilitate communication. We have not wanted to intentionally leave out colleagues in other countries, but we just don't know as much about what is going on there. At first this would be done on an occasional basis, with no formal time constraints. N.D. Penny and D.E. Bowles agreed to put out this subsequent issue.
1993 INFORMAL CONFERENCE ON NEUROPTEROIDS
Four excellent papers were presented at the national meetings on Monday night December 13. There was a very good attendance, with about 30 to 40 people listening to the talks.
Phil Adams gave a brief look into the life of Bo Tjeder of Lund, Sweden, who died in 1992 at the age of 92. Bo Tjeder was a banker by profession, and got into systematic studies of Neuroptera, Mecoptera, and Trichoptera as a young man. He probably received some formal training in systematics, and when not tied up with banking was able to publish comparative morphological treatises of neuropteran genitalia and large, well prepared monographs. His wife greatly facilitated his work by inking his illustrations.
Atilano Contreras-Ramos gave us an interesting presentation on his Ph.D. thesis work at the University of Minnesota on Corydalus. We have made extensive progress on phylogeny of the Megaloptera in recent years, including the clade that includes Chloronia, Platyneuromus and Corydalus. The biggest problem remaining with this group is a revision of the species of Corydalus, which present problems of sexual dimorphism and allometric growth. Atilano now has a clear view of the systematics of this genus, including several new species. He recognizes 17 valid species, 2 nomina dubia, and 5 nomina nuda. There also appear to be about three new species. He plans to complete his Ph.D. in late 1994. I know that we are all anxiously awaiting publication of this study, as it will mean that all New World Corydalinae can now be easily identified to species.
David E. Bowles gave a good presentation on the six species of Sisyridae known from the U.S. The distribution of these spongilla-flies is becoming much better known. It appears that this family is beginning to receive the attention that it deserves.
K.E. Redborg presented new information on spider-mantispid relationships, as a part of his continuing studies of mantispid biology.
Personal Note: I (NDP) grew up and took my first entomology courses only about 100 miles west of where Redborg is doing his current mantispid studies. Never in all my years in the area did I see a mantispid, and area collections have very few. I am once again impressed with the abundance of neuropterans in areas when a researcher knows what he is doing when searching for them. Redborg found mantispid larvae in spider egg sacs below the bark of shagbark hickory trees with some regularity. Lionel Stange and Bruce Miller have also commented on finding supposedly rare ant-lion in great abundance once the specific microhabitat is known. These are not small insects, and that they can hide so effectively from collectors is quite impressive.
PASSING OF AN ERA
Ray Pupedis has informed me that on Monday January 17, 1994 Dr. Frank M. Carpenter of Harvard University passed away at the age of 91. For those who are unaware of it, last year he received the ESA Thomas Say Award for his recent two volume publication on fossil insects. This is a monumental work which creates a basis foundation for future work in the area of fossils. However, to some of us his death signifies the passing of an era on Neuroptera and Mecoptera systematics at Harvard University. Starting before the beginning of this century with the Hagen and Schneider collections of Neuropteroids, Nathan Banks and later Frank Carpenter created a world center for study of Neuroptera and Mecoptera. Phil Adams, Ellis MacLeod and Charles Henry are among the more recent graduates of that school. In addition to the training of young Neuropterists, they were able to publish many comprehensive monographs which created the base from which all later workers started. Dr. Carpenter's 1931 revision of Nearctic Mecoptera remains to this day the only comprehensive systematic study of all North American Mecopterans. His 1936 revision of North American Raphidioptera remains to this day the only key to all species of snake-flies from North America. His 1940 monograph on several families of North American neuropteroids remains the only comprehensive analysis of all North American berothids and hemerobiids. If anyone wants information on Nearctic polystoechotids, the best information is still in this 1940 publication. As the years pass, these publications become more out-dated, they will eventually be replaced with more modern treatments. However, this cannot negate the work that Nathan Banks and Frank Carpenter did to create the foundation for several generations of workers here in North America. It is truly sad to see this era ending at such a fine center of academic achievement.
Victor Monserrat has just published a nice paper on Micromus. Through intensive work this large genus is becoming much better known and we may soon be able to identify all specimens with confidence. The full reference to this recent publication is: Monserrat, V.J. 1993. New data on some species of the genus Micromus Rambur, 1842. Ann. Mus. civico Storia Nat. "G. Doria" 89:477-516.
John D. Oswald has recently had three significant papers published on Neuroptera Systematics. His study of the higher classification of Hemerobiidae was published by the New York Entomological Society: Oswald, J.D. 1993. Revision and cladistic Analysis of the World Genera of the Family Hemerobiidae (Insecta: Neuroptera). J. New York Ent. Soc. 101(2):143-299., and his study of the Psychopside was published by the American Entomological Society: Oswald, J.D. 1993. Phylogeny, Taxonomy, and Biogeography of Extant Silky Lacewings (Insecta: Neuroptera: Psychopsidae). Mem. Amer. Ent. Soc. No. 40. 65 pp. This publication is available for $18 by writing to The American Entomological Society, c/o The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 1900 Race Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103. Finally, he has described a new genus and species of hemerobiid, as well as discussed the evolution of wing venation. This reference is: Oswald, J.D. 1993. A new genus and species of brown lacewing from Venezuela (Neuroptera: Hemerobiidae), with comments on the evolution of the hemerobiid forewing radial vein. Syst. Ent. 18:363-370.
Bo Tjeder's last monograph has now appeared. The full citation is: Tjeder, B. and C. Hansson. 1992. The Ascalaphidae of the Afrotropical Region (Neuroptera). Entomologica scandinavica. Supplement No. 41. It is being sold for $70 through a distributor: Scandinavian Entomology Ltd., P.O. Box 24, S-240 17 S. Sanby, Sweden. Fax +46/(0)46-518 23.
FAME AND FORTUNE
If any Neuropterist should have enough independent income to read the Wall Street Journal, you would have been in for a pleasant surprise last September 15. The front page ran a feature article on "Mr. Ant-lion", Lionel Stange. It was a delightful article that really presented well the science. It is delightful to see that occasionally one of our collegues who works hard on his taxonomic group for years in relative anonimity can be recognized for the knowledge that he has developed. Congratulations Lionel.
CURRENT WORK IN PROGRESS
There is much going on in the world of Neuropteroid Systematics at the present time, and this section is being written to let other workers know some of the projects being pursued. It is far from complete, and we apologize in advance for mental lapses. That seems to happen more frequently as time goes by.
As was mentioned earlier, Atilano Contreras-Ramos is finishing up his study of Corydalus this year. Michael Whiting is preparing to publish a phylogeny of North American sialid species. John Oswald is currently working on a phylogenetic analysis of the higher classification of the myrmeleontoid families of Neuroptera. He is also developing a database of generic names along with a compilation of literature. As he explained it to me, when complete the generic database can be presented in a number of flexible formats. Phil Adams and Norman Penny are working on the Leucochrysine chrysopids of the Amazon Basin. Phil and Katie and Maurice Tauber are beginning a taxonomic study of the genus Chrysopa in North America. Steve Brooks is currently working on a world revision of the chrysopid genus Chrysoperla. Victor Monserrat is developing a series of studies on the Hemerobiidae of the Neotropical Region, with the genus Hemerobius almost finished. Several new species are involved. The next genus will be Nusalala. Lionel Stange is almost finished with his world catalog of Myrmeleontidae. Adams, Penny, and Stange are currently developing a check-list of North American Neuropteroid species. Sergio de Freitas spent a month last July with Phil Adams learning how to identify South American chrysopids. He will be using this training for his biological control and systemtic research back in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Brooks and Penny are co-editing a project on the Neuroptera of Costa Rica. This project should briefly describe, illustrate, and key all species in this country, in collaboration with Institut de Biodiversidad (INBIO) in Santo Domingo de Heredia, Costa Rica. Various chapters are being developed by Martin Meinander, Victor Monserrat, Kevin Hoffman, Lionel Stange as well as the editors. This project is probably still 2 to 3 years from completion. Within the next couple of months The California Academy of Sciences will have on-line the Oswald & Penny generic catalog of neuropteroid names through their gopher system. This catalog will NOT be updated, as Oswald's generic database will be on-line sometime in the not too distant future. Oswald and Penny have both been busy developing a species level database for neuropteroids (and Mecoptera) that will eventually go on-line for fellow researchers to use. At the present time the species are all "in the computer", but further information is being added, such as key literature, geographical distributions and type depositories. No time frame has yet been established for this database to be activated for general access. Peter Duelli is heading up a study group on European Chrysoperla carnea and its sibling species. David Bowles continues his studies on sisrids and this coming year he will be focusing on the Mexican fauna.
The Fifth International Symposium of Neuropterology will be held from 2 to 5 May, 1994 at Cairo, Egypt. For more information and registration forms, contact Dr. S.A. El Arnaouty, c/o ORSTOM, B.O. 26, Giza code 12211, Cairo, Egypt. Tel/Fax: (202) 70 39 48. If past symposia are any indication, this symposium should be a great success.
1994 INFORMAL CONFERENCE ON NEUROPTEROIDS
At the 1993 informal conference, Keven Hoffman agreed to organize and moderate another informal conference on europteroids at the 1994 ESA meeting to be held in Dallas, Texas this coming December. If you wish to give a presentation or have any pertinent suggestions, please contact Kevin at the Department of Entomology, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634.