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Stenostrophia - Stenostrophia tribalteata

Stenostrophia - Stenostrophia tribalteata
At ~8000' elevation, on the canyon trail west of Convict Lake, Mono County, California, USA
July 23, 2005
This Lepturine was photographed on flowers of Gray Horsebrush (Tetradymia canescens). It had just lifted its elytra and was unfurling its hind wings preparing to fly off. I find it amazing how beetles can collapse and unfurl those delicate looking hind wings ("origami-like"), and also how they manage to fly against the air resistance on their elytra, especially when they're hefty sized species. According to the California Beetle Database, there are three species of Stenostrophia in California, namely:
  • S. amabilis whose type specimen appears here,
  • S. coquilletti whose type specimen appears here, and
  • S. tribalteata whose type specimen appears here
Since this photo was taken on the east side of the Sierras, I'm leaning towards Stenostrophia tribalteata tribalteata, per the comments on pg 243 of Evans & Hogue(1) (which can be viewed online here). But seems like a close call...comments welcomed and encouraged!


Moved from Stenostrophia.

I agree, Aaron -
Your location is clearly that of S. t. tribalteata .
I just found one in the San Gabriel Mountains, ssp. sierrae . The third subspecies, S. t. serpentina occurs in Idaho (type location), also British Columbia, & possibly elsewhere.
Now it would be nice to find the other two species, since all three are found in CA -as you've pointed out.
I'll try to find the paper that points to the characters distinguishing the three subspecies (in addition to distribution) of S. tribalteata.

Update: though I haven't looked at the key, I just looked at several specimen at Cal State Northridge (Jim Hogue). The specimen from East of the Sierras, labeled S. t. tribalteata had brown antennae, ssp. sierrae have black antennae. I assume there are other distinguishing characters, but this was rather obvious.
Hard to say, but your beetle's antennae look on the brown side.

whatever it is...
I'd say that you'd really need a key this out, or get an expert to know which it is. But it sure is a wonderful photo regardless of sp.

I agree about the inconclusiveness of the ID. I couldn't find a key for California lepturines and so figure putting out the above info is the best I can do. Maybe an expert will happen upon it, appreciate the effort, and lend a hand :-) Glad you enjoyed the photo.

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