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Photo#1195201
Death Valley Pollen Wasp on Phacelia calthifolia - Pseudomasaris basirufus - male

Death Valley Pollen Wasp on Phacelia calthifolia - Pseudomasaris basirufus - Male
In dead-end box-canyon east of Badwater Road, a few miles north of Mormon Point, Death Valley National Park, Inyo County, California, USA
February 14, 2016
Found in the late afternoon, bivouacking in a flower of Phacelia calthifolia. A female was found in a similar situation on another nearby plant of P. calthifolia:

   

After this male moved a bit, and its clubbed antenna became apparent, I immediately realized it was Pseudomasaris...and from the color pattern I guessed P. maculifrons.

But, later, checking the literature (Richards 1963, 1966) I soon realized that P. maculifrons and P. basirufus are very similar looking. And after a careful study of both Richard's papers, I came to the conclusion this is P. basirufus.

In particular, examining the 4th image in this series: the 4th antennal segment is "distinctly widened at apex" (cf. couplet 17 on pg. 51 of Richards (1966)); the eyes are not widely separated at the vertex (though I can't make out the ocelli to gauge comparative size); the color pattern on the male's antenna here matches better with P. basirufus than P. maculifrons in the figures on pg. 286 of Richard(1963); and the white portion of the club has no hairs (cf. pg. 51, Richards (1963)).

Richards mentions that both basirufus and maculifrons are relatively early species and occur at low elevations for the genus...in accord with the date/locale here.

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Death Valley Pollen Wasp on Phacelia calthifolia - Pseudomasaris basirufus - male Death Valley Pollen Wasp on Phacelia calthifolia - Pseudomasaris basirufus - male Death Valley Pollen Wasp on Phacelia calthifolia - Pseudomasaris basirufus - male Death Valley Pollen Wasp on Phacelia calthifolia - Pseudomasaris basirufus - male