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Pollen Wasp - Pseudomasaris marginalis

Pollen Wasp - Pseudomasaris marginalis
Umtanum, Kittitas County, Washington, USA
June 9, 2007
This one looks interesting, on phacelia linearis. Anyone recognize it? Thx.

Hello Fred,
to avoid confusion I've moved this from Pseudomasaris zonalis.

Thanks for submitting this, Fred!
It is certainly a pollen wasp, genus Pseudomasaris . The most likely candidate, as far as species is concerned, is P. zonalis (one of the smaller species).
Your area is the northeastern part of their range (WY, ID, OR, WA), where the light-colored part of the abdominal pattern is the whitest, but show the least pale markings compared to more southern specimen (where they're more yellow). Also, this is one of the spp. that has been found on various Phacelia spp., though also on flowers of other plant families.

Do you have any more photos of this insect, or a larger resolution version of this?

Thanks Hartmut
Unfortunately, I seem to have misplaced the original for this photo and spent over an hour looking for it. I should be able to dig it up from a backup when I have more time though, and I do have photos of other species that I can upload.

Looking forward
to seeing your photos of other species (other Pseudomasaris ?).

OK additional images have been uploaded
The wasp in this photo was found at 1,350' elevation-- I'll have to keep my eyes open for more next spring.

(about P. zonalis from the guide info page) Of 103 specimen examined by O.W. Richards (1963; see reference below), 47 were found at high altitudes (10,000 - 12,000 ft.), the remainder mostly from 6,000 ft. or higher. At least one record exists from below 1,0000 ft. (Mitchell Canyon, Contra Costa County, CA; May 1961, on Phacelia nemoralis Greene)

I corrected the elevation given on the INFO page
for Mitchell Canyon (Mt. Diablo), SFO Bay Area SE of Concord. There are probably many other areas from where they haven't been reported yet. Sorry about the mistake!
By the way, your wasp is a female. Male's antennae are longer, the terminal segment (VIII) noticeably wider than segment VII, in contrast to P. coquilletti where segment VIII is longer, but not much wider than segment VII (compare here: 1 ).

Thanks Hartmut.
I found the high-res original just last week -- though I posted the correct county location I had mixed up my trip record, ignored what I originally posted and misplaced the original. The elevation for this insect was also higher than I'd mentioned previously, about 2600 ft.

Pseudomasaris marginalis -
rather than zonalis.
Update (July/09): turns out that I should have been more careful. I have since seen both identified specimens (at LACNHM), as well as live wasps in the San Gabriel Mountains.
At the time I first considered this photo, I skipped over parts of the key where I thought the characters could only be seen in actual specimens. One of the major features I thought could not be seen in photographs is whether the propodeum (in apocritan wasps and bees the fusion of the first abdominal segment with the thorax, the constriction forming the "wasp waist") is lamellate or dentate (& if dentate only with small tooth or spine). This character should be discernible from this aspect. As far as I can see, your wasp doesn't have a propodeal spine, such as typical for zonalis. This leads to either marginalis (Cresson) or macneilli R.M. Bohart. The latter can easily be discounted because of its sulphur-yellow markings, as well as distribution (CA/ Sierra Nevada, and Utah). Looking at female specimens of marginalis, there's obviously a better fit.
Still, zonalis is very similar but has obvious propodeal spines. P. zonalis lacks the long black hair on the head and thorax of marginalis (some of which is visible in your photo), and is generally lighter. Careful search may show both spp. in the same general area.
I'll be posting some zonalis shortly.

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