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Photo#161146
Cuckoo Wasp - Parnopes edwardsii (or fulvicornis?) - Parnopes edwardsii - female

Cuckoo Wasp - Parnopes edwardsii (or fulvicornis?) - Parnopes edwardsii - Female
Near Little Alkali Lakes, Mono County, California, USA
July 24, 2005
I believe this is Parnopes edwardsii, after going through the keys in Kimsey(1) (which can be downloaded here).

However, there's a possibility it may be P. fulvicornis. The latter is distinguished by having dense silvery appressed hairs on the face (cf. Figure 91 on the last page of the Kimsey(1) PDF). Unfortunately, I didn't get a "face-on" photo, so it's hard to know for sure here. There does appear to be a slight tuft of white hair barely visible at the left edge of the face on this image. Comments, corrections, & observations solicited here!

Members of the genus Parnopes are distinctive among Chrysidids for their long tongues, which I believe is partially visible in this image pointing backwards below the face. Also distinctive are the two large foveae on top of last abdominal segment (looking like "tooth-dent" creases...best seen in the 3rd image of this set). Female Parnopes have three visible abdomenal segments, while male Parnopes have four (Kimsey(1), pg 285).

This Chrysidid was nectaring on flowers of the composite Gray Horsebrush (Tetradymia canescens) in open desert scrub at ~6900' elevation. According to Kimsey(1), Parnopes larva parasitize Bembecine wasps, which would probably have plenty of habitat in the abundant sandy substrate of the area.

Images of this individual: tag all
Cuckoo Wasp - Parnopes edwardsii (or fulvicornis?) - Parnopes edwardsii - female Cuckoo Wasp -Parnopes edwardsii (or fulvicornis?) - Parnopes edwardsii - female Cuckoo Wasp - Parnopes edwardsii (or fulvicornis?) - Parnopes edwardsii - female

Moved
Moved from Parnopes.
I don't have much to add since it is already identified and important details explained. It can't be Parnopes fulvicornis since this species has trong reddish background (especially females), although specimens from eastern parts of the country are more blue.

Wow.
Fabulous image, best I've ever seen of ANY Parnopes! Congrats just recognizing the genus. I would side with P. edwardsii as well.

 
Thanks Eric
Glad you like the image and good to get your input regarding species. I was fortunate to find the Kimsey(1) monograph. The keys there indicate that if you have a Chrysidid wasp from California, then:
  • three metasomal terga ==> female
  • two large foveae on apical terga ==> Parnopes
Nice and simple!

 
Hi Aaron,
thanks again for posting the link to the Kimsey. It took your post for me to discover that I had downloaded the monograph last January, but had it 'on ice' until seeing more Cuckoo wasps!

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