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Eusapyga verticalis - female

Eusapyga verticalis - Female
Off Mount Pinos Rd., ~7200 ft., Kern County, California, USA
July 24, 2007
Nectaring in Eriogonum umbellatum (Sulphur Buckwheat).
Just a month ago I saw my first sapygid in the San Gabriel Mountains. There was a flash of recognition when I noticed this wasp on Mt. Pinos.

ID by Doug Yanega (Entomology Research Museum, U.C. Riverside, Riverside, CA) - the shiny black tubercles on the vertex are distinctive, also the darker apical area of the wing.

Images of this individual: tag all
Eusapyga verticalis - female Eusapyga verticalis - female Eusapyga verticalis - female

Moved from Sapygid wasps.

This one is not...
so easy to forget. It remains me of Palaearctic Polochrum sp., and there must be a closer relationship than just at the family level. However, unlike Polochrum, this Californian Sapygid could hardly parasitize Carpenter Bees, unless there are some of them left at these respectable altitude.

the California Carpenter bee (X. californica) does fly at this altitude. We have Jeffrey Pine forest here with various shrubs, perennials, and annuals at the edges, and in clearings. I just observed carpenter bees nectaring in milkweed. However, might not some Megachile be parasitized by this wasp?

Leaf-cutting bees...
Are most likely its hosts, especially those nesting in wood. Eusapyga is an ideal genus name for this superb wasp; simple to rmember and saying exacty what the insect is, i.e some kind of "super-Sapyga".

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