ZooKeys 417: 1–8, doi: 10.3897/zookeys.417.7373
A new species of Dicranocentrus (Collembola, Entomobryidae) from China with comments on the systematic position of the genus
Guo-Liang Xu 1, Feng Zhang 2
1 School of Geographical Sciences, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou 510006, China
2 Department of Entomology, College of Plant Protection, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, China

Corresponding author: Feng Zhang (xtmtd.zf@gmail.com)

Academic editor: L. Deharveng

received 25 February 2014 | accepted 3 June 2014 | Published 18 June 2014
(C) 2014 Guo-Liang Xu. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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Citation: Xu G-L, Zhang F (2014) A new species of Dicranocentrus (Collembola, Entomobryidae) from China with comments on the systematic position of the genus. ZooKeys 417: 1–8. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.417.7373


Dicranocentrus liuae sp. n. is described from the northern subtropical region of China. The new species is most similar to D. wangi Ma & Chen, 2007, but differs from it in the relatively shorter Ant. V, the 1+1 central macrochaetae on Abd. III, the number of chaetae on tenaculum, and the absence of dental spines. The systematic position of Dicranocentrus is also discussed. Present evidence, particularly S-chaetotaxy, indicates that the genus is closer to Heteromurus than to the unscaled species of Orchesella and Orchesellides.


D. liuae sp. n. , chaetotaxy, Orchesellinae, Heteromurus


The genus Dicranocentrus was erected by Schött (1893) for Dicranocentrus gracilis. It is characterized by 6-segmented antennae, the ratio between abdominal segments IV/III less than 2.0, scales present on antennae, legs, body, manubrium and ventral side of dens, eyes 8+8, postantennal organ absent, and mucro bidentate with a basal spine. Mari-Mutt (1979) published an excellent revision of the taxonomy, biology, and geographical distribution. Mari-Mutt (1980) divided the Orchesellinae into four tribes mainly based on the number of antennal segments, with Orchesellini (Dicranocentrus included), Heteromurini and Corynothrichini having 6, 5, and 4 segments, respectively. Soto-Adames (2008) did not change Mari-Mutt’s taxonomical framework, but simply added two new small tribes. However, recent molecular phylogeny of the Entomobryidae (Zhang et al. 2014a) placed Dicranocentrus together with Heteromurus in a separate clade, apart from the unscaled taxa (Orchesella/Orchesellides).

So far, three Dicranocentrus species have been reported from China: Dicranocentrus indicus Bonet, 1930 from Taiwan, Dicranocentrus chenae Ma, Chen & Soto-Adames, 2006 from Guangxi, and Dicranocentrus wangi Ma & Chen, 2007 from Gangdong (Fig. 1). Here, we describe a new species from the northern subtropical region of China, compare it with other orchesellids, and discuss the systematic position of the genus.

Figure 1.

Geographical distribution of Dicranocentrus species from China.

Materials and methods

Specimens were mounted in Marc André II solution after clearing in lactic acid and were studied using a Nikon E600 and SMZ-1000 microscope. Photographs were enhanced with Photoshop CS2/PC (Adobe Inc.). The number of macrochaetae is given by half-tergite in the descriptions. Dorsal cephalic chaetotaxy and interocular chaetae follow Mari-Mutt (1979, 1986). Types are deposited in the collections of the Department of Entomology, College of Plant Protection, Nanjing Agricultural University (NJAU), P. R. China.

Abbreviations. Th. I–III – thoracic segment I–III; Abd. I–VI – abdominal segment I–VI; Ant. I–IV – antennal segment I–IV; mac – macrochaeta/ae; mic – microchaeta/ae; ms – S-microchaeta/ae; sens – ordinary tergal S-chaeta/ae; post-labial quadrangle – PLQ.

Dicranocentrus liuae sp. n.


Figs 214, Table 1
Type locality.

China, Anhui, Shitai, Guniujiang, 30.092°N, 117.482°E, altitude 208m.


Holotype: ♀ on slide, China, Anhui, Shitai, Guniujiang, the entrance of Yan hamlet, 30.092°N, 117.482°E, altitude 208m, 15 August 2011, F Zhang, DY Yu and YH Ren leg. (#C9676). Paratypes: 3 ♀♀ and 1 ♂ on slides, 4 in alcohol, same data as holotype. Other material: 1 ♀ on slide, China, Anhui, Shitai, Gongxi, 27 August 1994, JX Chen leg. (#C8391); 1 ♀ on slide, China, Zhejing, Jin Xian, Tiantongshan National Natural Reserve, 10 June 1995, JX Chen leg. (#C8458).


Body length up to 1.8 mm.

Ground colour pale yellow. Eye patches dark. Blue pigment present on antennae and legs (Fig. 2). Scales brown, rounded, truncate, or pointed with numerous short striations; scales present on Ant. I‒IV, body, legs, both side of ventral tube and manubrium, and ventral side of dens.w

Figure 2.

Dicranocentrus liuae sp. n. Habitus.

Antenna 2.0–2.7 times as long as cephalic diagonal. Ant. V and VI annulated and their length ratio as 1.2–0.7: 1. Four types of common chaetae observed: ciliate, thin (Fig. 3A) or thick (Fig. 3B) mic; smooth, straight, spiny mic on Ant. I and III (Fig. 3C); long, straight chaetae smooth or weakly ciliate (Fig. 3D). Most S-chaetae slightly curved, short (Fig. 3E–I) or long (Fig. 3J). Distal Ant. II with 1 rod-like S-chaeta ventrally (Fig. 3K), 2 strongly curved, thickened S-chaetae externally (Fig. 3L–M). Ant. VI apical bulb absent.

Figures 3−10.

Dicranocentrus liuae sp. n. 3 antennal chaetae 4 labral papillae 5 labial chaetae 6 dorsal cephalic chaetotaxy 7 trochanteral organ 8 hind claw 9 anterior face of ventral tube 10 distal posterior and lateral flap chaetae of ventral tube.

Eyes 8+8, G and H smaller. Prelabral and labral chaetae 4/5, 5, 4, all smooth; prelabral ones stronger than labral ones. Labral papillae 4, cone-like with apical spine often curved (Fig. 4). Mandibles with 4+5 apical teeth. Lateral process of labial palp papillae E as thick as normal chaetae, with tip not reaching apex of labial papilla. Subapical chaeta of maxillary outer lobe thicker than apical; 3 smooth sublobal hairs on maxillary outer lobe. Labium with 5 smooth proximal chaetae and 8–10 submentum chaetae; the most external one A5 on mentum shorter than A1‒5; at most 1 ciliate chaeta on submentum (Fig. 5). PLQ chaetae smooth and 2+2 weakly ciliate chaetae posterior to PLQ. Dorsal cephalic chaetotaxy with10–13 antennal (An), 3 median (M), sutural S0–7, 1 postocular (P0) and 9 posterior (P) mac. Interocular chaetae 3 as p, s, t (Fig. 6).

Trochanteral organ with about 30 smooth spiny chaetae (Fig. 7). Some inner differentiated tibiotarsal chaetae smooth under light microscope. Unguis with 3 inner teeth, all minute. Unguiculus lanceolate with outer edge smooth. Tenent hairs acuminate (Fig. 8).

Abd. IV 1.66–1.89 times as long as Abd. III along dorsal midline. Ventral tube anteriorly with many weakly ciliate chaetae and some scales (Fig. 9); posteriorly with many smooth chaetae; both sides with scales; each lateral flap with about 20 smooth chaetae (Fig. 10). Tenaculum with 4+4 teeth, corpus with 2–4 smooth chaetae. Manubrial plaque with 3 pseudopores and 5–9 ciliate chaetae on each side (Fig. 11). Manubrium dorsally with rows of smooth chaetae but their number not clear. Dens without inner spines. Dental of lobe with 1+1 large blunt ciliate and about 5+5 small smooth chaetae. Smooth distal part of dens 4.4–5.7 times as long as mucro; mucro bidentate with two subequal teeth (Fig. 12).

Figures 11−14.

Dicranocentrus liuae sp. n. 11 manubrial plaque 12 mucro 13 thoracic chaetotaxy 14 abdominal chaetotaxy, inset, variation in number of inner mac.

Th. II with 2 inner and 2 outer mac on medial area, 9 posterior mac, 1 ms and 2 sens; anterior ms external to sens. Th. III with 15–16 mac and 2 lateral sens (Fig. 13). Abd. I with 3 mac, 1 ms and 1 sens; ms external to sens. Abd. II with 2 inner, 1 lateral mac and 3 sens. Abd. III with 1 inner, 2 lateral mac, 1 ms and 3 sens. Abd. IV with 3–5 inner, 10 lateral mac, and many (number undetermined) elongate sens. Abd. V with 4 sens (Fig. 14).


Named after the former member Ms L. Liu in our lab, who initiated the study of the genus in China.


In litter or on leaves of forest floor.


This new species belongs to sundanensis-group according to Mari-Mutt(1979). It is the only member with 1+1 inner mac on Abd. III in sundanensis-group. It is most similar to Dicranocentrus wangi in labrum, cephalic chaetotaxy, trochanteral organ, tergal chaetotaxy of thorax and Abd. I–II, ventral tube, and claw structure. It differs from the latter in having a shorter Ant. V, 9 posterior cephalic mac, 1+1 inner mac on Abd. III, 2–4 chaetae on tenaculum, and the absence of dental spines (Table 1). S-chaetotaxy is also described in the genus for the first time: ms 1, 0|1, 0, 1, 0, 0 and sens 2, 2|1, 3, 3, ?, 4.

Table 1.

Comparison between Dicranocentrus liuae sp. n. and Dicranocentrus wangi.

Characters Dicranocentrus liuae sp. n. Dicranocentrus wangi
Ratio of Ant. V/VI 0.7–1.2 1.2−2.3
Posterior cephalic mac 9 5
Lateral flap of ventral tube about 20 28−50
Chaetae on tenaculum 2−4 4−10
Dental spines absent present
Inner mac on Abd. III 1 2

Mari-Mutt (1979) considered that the closest relatives of Dicranocentrus were Orchesella and Dicranorchesella because the three genera shared 6-segmented antennae. None questioned the systematic position of Dicranocentrus before the work of Zhang et al. (2014a), who also discussed the disputable use of secondary and unstable structures (such as number of antennal segments and number of chaetae on trochanteral organ) during development in modern taxonomy. Taking no account of antennae, Dicranocentrus shares most characters with Heteromurus: the presence of the same type of body scales, pigment reduced or scattered on the body, relatively fewer tergal macrochaetae, dental spines often present, and 3 ordinary S-chaetae on Abd. II/III (see also Heteromurus nitidus, Szeptycki 1979). An additional middle ordinary S-chaeta compared to those on species belonging to the Entomobryini/Willowsiini implies that both Dicranocentrus and Heteromurus are possibly closer to the Entomobryinae sensu Szeptycki, 1979, than previously thought. The pattern of four S-chaetae on Abd. V in Dicranocentrus is also similar to that of Heteromurus with the latter lacking the middle one. Compared to Dicranocentrus/Heteromurus, Orchesella/Orchesellides have much more abundant macrochaetae on each tergum and S-chaetae (usually >5) on Abd. II, III and V. The idea that the presence of body scales is a synapomorphy in Dicranocentrus/Heteromurus was strongly supported by molecular phylogeny, although body scales cannot be assumed to be a synapomorphy of the scaled genera (Willowsiini) of Entomobryinae by Zhang et al. (2014b). Body scales have been used successfully to define many groups, such as the Tomoceridae, Oncopoduridae, Seirinae, Lepidocyrtinae, and Cyphoderinae. Mari-Mutt (1979) proposed that Dicranocentrus originated from Orchesella via an intermediate stage represented by Dicranorchesella (with short ciliated chaetae and scales present). Mari-Mutt (1979) stated that Dicranorchesella, which has abundant cephalic and tergal macrochaetae, is quite close to Orchesella. However, of the pointed and fusiform scales of Dicranorchesella indicate that it represents a lineage independently derived from Dicranocentrus; its relationship with Orchesella possibly resembles that of Willowsia/Entomobrya as shown by Zhang et al. (2014a, b). A systematic review and phylogeny based on larger samples would ultimately resolve the systematic position of Dicranocentrus.


The present study was supported by the National Natural Sciences Foundation of China (31101622, 40801096).

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