This study revises the taxonomy of Ungla – an obscure but widespread,
attractive, and potentially useful Neotropical genus of green lacewings. Prior to the
study, Ungla species were known to occur in a variety of settings – natural,
agricultural, and horticultural. However, they could not be identified, and their
value as natural enemies of phytophagous pests could not be assessed. The revision
here recognizes twenty-five valid Ungla species based on distinctive external
features and subtle differences in male abdominal morphology. It assigns five
previously misidentified species to Ungla, describes seven new species, and
identifies ten new synonymies. It provides keys, detailed descriptions, and images
for identifying and classifying all known species in the genus. And, it supplies
information on the distribution, biology, and literature of each species. As a result
of this work, the genus is now poised for biological investigation and evaluation.
The study also illustrates a fascinating geographical pattern of distribution.
Ungla species now appear to comprise two geographically distinct groups: one
in southern South America (specifically Argentina and Brazil) and the other in more
northern areas of Neotropical America (Andean and Caribbean regions, Central America,
southern Mexico). No overlap of the distributions is known to occur.
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