Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Upcoming Events

National Moth Week photos of insects and people. Here's how to add your images.

Photos of insects and people from the 2019 BugGuide Gathering in Louisiana, July 25-27

Discussion, insects and people from the 2018 gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Photos of insects and people from the 2013 gathering in Arizona, July 25-28

Photos of insects and people from the 2012 gathering in Alabama

Photos of insects and people from the 2011 gathering in Iowa

Myrmosa? - Paratiphia - male

Myrmosa? - Paratiphia - Male
Kelso Valley, Kern County, California, USA
June 19, 2017
Found on a leaf on the cool, shaded, north-facing side of a cottonwood tree (Populus fremontii). Numerous insects of many types were similarly sheltering from the intense mid-afternoon heat (100°+ temps) on the leaves of this cottonwood...which was situated near the sandy shore of a running creek, and was itself partially shaded by a large rock outcrop.

My first thought for this was a male (11 flagellomeres) mutillid, but searching BugGuide (and noting the wing venation, with a vein meeting the middle of the pterostigma transversely) I next considered the possibility of family Myrmosidae (which some have placed within Mutillidae in the past). Though I found this 1940 paper by Krombein, I wasn't able to make further progress with the ID there. (I was hoping the whitish clypeus might be somewhat diagnostic. Abundant white pubescence is apparently associated with Myrmosa unicolor, but that's mostly an eastern species which seems not to make it to California.)

At that point I was stuck. But after I made the post, Bob Biagi suggested Paratiphia...which further study confirmed. For details, see the comments thread below.

Support for tentative species ID of Paratiphia nevadensis
Regarding species ID, using the key to Paratiphia species on page 28 of Allen(1968), this actually goes unambiguously to P. nevadensis via the following character sequence:

1) Clypeus and mandibles with whitish markings (vs. without whitish markings)......3
3) Mandible whitish basally (vs. not whitish basally).......9
9) Hairs (i.e. microsetae) on wing membrane dark brown (vs. pale for opposing lead).......13
13) Apical bristles of intermediate terga long, very slender, only slightly stouter than adjacent hairs (vs. apical bristles of terga much stouter than adjacent hairs).......14
14) Fore tibia black.........nevadensis Cameron 1907
Note that nevadensis also comes out via a different sequence, where at couplet 3) one can choose "Mandibles without white markings at base", in which case the next couplet leading to nevadensis states (among other things) "anterior process on side of pronotum sharply acuminate". It's hard to tell for sure from my photo, but there does appear to be what might be a somewhat pointed projection at the antero-ventral corner of the pronotum, between the patches of long white setae along the posterior ventral edge of the gena, and the ventral edge of the lateral pronotum...just forward of the fore-coxa.

Regarding nevadensis, Allen(1968) states, among other things, that:

"The male of the species can be distinguished from most of the described species by the prominent acute-angled process on the side of the pronotum; the weak apical bristles on the apices of the terga (which are scarcely differentiated from the slender adjacent hairs); and by the occipital suture that confines a smaller and more declivous foramenal cavity than most species."
"The membrane of the wing in the male is moderately brown setulose. The hairs of the dorsal pronotum and especially the front are relatively long and dense, and in larger specimens, those of the abdomen tend to be yellowish."
The characters quoted above seem to fit well with the individual in my photo. Moreover, the location here also fits well with the records indicated for nevadensis in Map 2 (page 45) of Allen(1968). And in checking out other species whose range maps include the locale here, I found there were various characters which would appear to eliminate them.

Note also that the original description of P. nevadensis Cameron, 1907 mentions (among other many things):

"Hind tibiae with the spines short, black; there are about eight on the outer row."
Such spines can be seen on the left hind femur in my photo.

There are images of a curated male P. nevadensis from Univ. of British Columbia's Spencer Insect Collection (lateral, dorsal, and ventral)...but unfortunately they don't clearly display the pronotal "anterior process". The also don't display the conspicuous white clypeus and mandible bases apparent in my photo, partially due to unfortunate viewing angles (and leg positioning)...but it may also be that their specimen is what was formerly considered P. intermedia Cameron (with mandibles mostly black), which Allen(1968) gave reasons for synonymizing under nevadensis. Cameron's original description of P. intermedia is here. Due to later synonymy & refinements of circumscription, interpretation of Cameron's descriptions are likely best tempered by the commentary in Allen(1968), and perhaps also his redescription of the type of nevadensis in Allen(1962)...which I've not yet been able to access.

Moved to Paratiphia (per Bob Biagi's suggestion)
Moved from Aculeata - Ants, Bees and Stinging Wasps.

Having consulted some references (e.g. Pate(1947) and papers by Allen here), I'm now convinced this is indeed in subfamily Tiphiinae of Tiphiidae...due to the tegulae, which are fairly large and completely cover the axillary sclerites. This is in contrast to Myrmosa, where the tegulae are smaller and don't completely cover the axillary sclerites.

And this indeed appears to be genus Paratiphia, from the following diagnostic characters: tegula orbicular (vs. more elongate in Epomidiopteron); abdominal terga punctate throughout (vs. with polished impunctate apical bands in Neotiphia and Krombeinia); clypeus white (vs. always black in Tiphia).

[Historical Higher Taxonomy Note: Formerly Paratiphia and Myrmosa were both placed in in the classic catalog of Krombein et al(1)(1979) where they appear within the subfamilies Tiphiinae and Myrmosinae, respectively. Myrmosinae was also sometimes placed within Mutillidae. In recent times (cf. Brothers(1999) and Pilgrim et al(2)(2008)) many subfamilies formerly placed in Tiphiidae have been moved. Some comprise the current family Thynnidae. The former Myrmosinae is now treated as family Myrmosidae, and is placed near Mutillidae in the superfamily Pompiloidea(3).]

Paratiphia also have a distinctive wing venation character (referred to in Bob's comment below) that can just barely be discerned in my photo. Namely, the veinlet segment separating what appear to be the 1st and 2nd submarginal cells is actually only a "partial" vein that doesn't reach the media (= the vein forming the posterior edges of the submarginal cells) the "1st and 2nd" submarginal cells aren't truly separated. Again, this character is difficult to discern in my photo (and in most current BugGuide posts in the genus), but it is clearly illustrated in Ron's post below:


Check the wings
I'm not sure that you can rule out the genus Paratiphia. There are not many images that clearly show the vienation, but Ron's guy below, also seems to have a white clypeus.
Please compare: ♂ (western?)

Many thanks, Bob!
I think you're definitely on the right track. It wasn't my intention to rule out Paratiphia...I just overlooked considering it! And that, even though I've posted a number of Paratiphia in the past. (Seems my memory ain't what it used to be, and for some reason I've often found Hymenoptera difficult to ID to family or beyond.)

I've actually got some literature on Paratiphia that I accumulated while attempting to ID previous posts (but had forgotten about! :-). I'll try to see if I can use it to make any progress here.

Follow-up: I believe this is Paratiphia nevadensis
I got a chance to study a bunch of references, and I'm convinced your suggestion of Paratiphia was right on. Supporting details appear in my comments above. Thanks again, Bob, for your interest and input here! :-)

Comment viewing options
Select your preferred way to display the comments and click 'Save settings' to activate your changes.