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fly (?Conopidae) - Physoconops - female

fly (?Conopidae) - Physoconops - Female
Hobbs Conservation Area, Carroll County, Iowa, USA
June 26, 2014

Moved from Physoconops obscuripennis.

Eileen...if you have any other images of this conopid from different angles, then that could help resolve the species ID here. (For example, showing the top of the head? Or a more transverse view of the wing? They don't have to be great shots, just ones where diagnostic characters might be discernible. You could email them to me if you prefer that to posting (address here). My curiosity is piqued, and it would be satisfying to solve this mystery!)

But for now, it seems best to place this under genus Physoconops.

Moved from Physoconops.

Good species ID attempt...but not clear this is obscuripennis
It's hard to get a species ID here with only the characters visible from the viewpoint and resolution in the photo here.

It is clear that Physocephala can be ruled out here, from the uniform width of hind femur.

And Physoconops brachyrhynchus is also ruled out by the relatively large theca of this female.

The clearest characters for recognizing that P. obscuripennis are the large "tongue-shaped" black marking filling the frons, together with the gradually diffuse infuscation of the wings (with no clear lines of demarcation between hyaline and infuscated areas). But those characters are not visible in this photo.

More helpful in resolving the ID here is the fact that P. obscuripennis is in the nominate subgenus Physoconops, which is characterized by a clearly discernible triangular indentation at the middle of the eye near its hind margin; and third flagellomere less than 2/3 the length of the second. See the full-size images for the posts thumbnailed below for examples of these characters in the 5 species of subgenus Physoconops in our area:


While Eileen's post here does have a subtly smooth triangular area on the eye surface adjacent to the middle of its hind margin, it doesn't seem as conspicuous as usual in subgenus Physoconops (and particularly, in obscuripennis). And while I can't clearly discern the juncture between the 2nd and 3rd flagellomere in the post here, it appears as if the 3rd flagellomere is least as long as the second flagellomere (as opposed to < 2/3, as in obscuripennis). On the other hand, I think I do make out a slight green tinge to the eyes (which may be somewhat suppressed do to white balance & exposure or post-processing)...which would suggest obscuripennis, though that's just something I've noticed in (living individuals of) that species, and not a "published character".

The other mostly dark-bodied candidates in Physoconops are P. (Pachyconops) bulbirostris, P. (Pachyconops) excisus, and Physoconops (Gyroconops) sylvosus. Of those, I think P. bulbirostris is the best candidate here, since P. excisus has a conspicuous uninterrupted pollinose ring around the edge of the occiput which isn't apparent here, and also red femora, and a pollinose pleural band that would likely appear more conspicuous here (even with the legs blocking most the view). And P. sylvosus is almost entirely deep black, versus the dark brownish hue here. P. bulbirostris is also typically a deep black, rather than brownish...but it seems the best alternative to me at this point.

So, unless John has a clear character that clinches P. (Physoconops) obscuripennis here, it seems just as likely to me that this might be P. (Pachyconops) bulbirostris.

Moved from Conopinae.

female Physoconops?
a guess but suggested by the long theca and hind femur's not being irregularly shaped

Moved from ID Request.

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