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Wasp, spread dorsal - Palmodes praestans - female

Wasp, spread dorsal - Palmodes praestans - Female
Sandia Mountains, Bernalillo County, New Mexico, USA
June 22, 2014
Size: 28 mm Body Length
Download high resolution image here.

I collected this specimen on Embudo Trl (193) from the sandy dry stream bed below Embudo Spring at about 6600 ft elevation (35°05'47.8"N 106°27'52.5"W) in the Sandia Mountains, Tijeras 7.5’ quadrangle, Bernalillo Co, NM. It was dragging the paralyzed Capnobotes fuliginosus posted here:

It is likely that the image at the Project Noah site is of the same wasp/host pair species. The behavior, sandy terrain, and wasp appearance are indistinguishable from what I observed.

The Bohart and Menke 1976(1) Sphecini key identifies the genus as Palmodes from its straight inner orbits and slightly concave and notch-free clypeus medial lobe laterally bounded by sinuation. The Bohart and Menke 1961(2) female key, then, identifies the species as P. praestans from the length of this medial lobe's concave margin being greater than the antennal socket expanse, its extensively suffused orange wings, dark pubescence on its face and clypeus, and reddish abdomen.

For corroboration, this species ID is consistent with Caudell 1919(3) identifing Capnobotes fuliginosus as host. Although I have not gone through it in detail, Fernald 1906(4) provides a detailed description of Palmodes praestans. The abdomen color is described there as "pale ferruginous, almost yellow" vs. simply "red" in Bohart and Menke 1976. This is a more accurate description for our specimen.

Eric Eaton concurs with my species ID.

This image is from a CombineZP processed stack of 71 images with a 362 µm step taken with a Nikon 200mm F/4 AF-D ED-IF Micro Nikkor macro set to F/5.6 + Nikon D810 camera.

Images of this individual: tag all
Wasp, spread dorsal - Palmodes praestans - female Wasp, spread ventral - Palmodes praestans - female Wasp, spread lateral - Palmodes praestans - female Wasp, spread anterior - Palmodes praestans - female Wasp, head anterior - Palmodes praestans - female

Moved from Prionyx.

See Remarks above.


Palmodes praestans
I emailed Eric Eaton. He replied,

"I'm not even sure this is a Prionyx sp., but Dr. Ascher definitely knows his stuff....I've never seen a Prionyx with orange wings, though, *and* the host is all wrong. The host would fit more with Palmodes spp., or Sphex lucae, both of which take katydids as prey. Prionyx takes acridid grasshoppers exclusively, as far as I know."

I've added a better face shot. I'm leaning strongly towards Palmodes praestans at this time, based on Bohart and Menke 1976(1) for genus, and Bohart and Menke 1961(2) for species. Caudell 1919 reports Capnobotes fuliginosus to be a host.

Was working quickly and had not considered Palmodes
most with venation like this are Prionyx

Tettigoniidae host
Thanks for the genus ID. Tettigoniidae is an unusual host for this genus. Knowing what species strays from Acrididae would be interesting. What additional views will help ID the species?

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