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Species Dacerla mediospinosa

Alydus? - Dacerla mediospinosa Alydus? - Dacerla mediospinosa Ant mimic heteropteran from montane central Sierra - Dacerla mediospinosa Ant mimic heteropteran from montane central Sierra - Dacerla mediospinosa Ant mimic heteropteran from montane central Sierra - Dacerla mediospinosa
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hemiptera (True Bugs, Cicadas, Hoppers, Aphids and Allies)
Suborder Heteroptera (True Bugs)
Infraorder Cimicomorpha
Superfamily Miroidea
Family Miridae (Plant Bugs)
Subfamily Mirinae
Tribe Herdoniini
Genus Dacerla
Species mediospinosa (Dacerla mediospinosa)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Dacerla mediospinosa Signoret 1881
Myrmecopsis inflatus Uhler 1894
Dacerla inflata Bergroth 1897
Dacerla inflata var. rufuscula Reuter 1909
Explanation of Names
  mediospinosa: Latin, medio + spinosa = "spine in middle"; referring to the distinctive medial spine along the posterior edge of the pronotum
  Myrmecopsis : Greek, myrmeco + opsis = "resembling an ant"
  inflata, -us : Latin, inflata, -us = "inflated"; Uhler (who coined the epithet) referred to the abdomen as inflated in his description; Carvalho & Usinger described head as strongly inflated.
  rufuscula : Latin, rufus + cula = "a little reddish"
Identification
Distinctive Characters:
1) Hind-margin of pronotum abruptly upturned as a thin flange, which is elongated in its median portion and raised into a spine-like projection (but is hollow from behind).
2) Hemelytra (= fore-wings) short; tapered basally & rounded apically; lacking the grooves separating cuneus and membrane found in typical hemipteran wings; and not covering last 3 abdominal segments. No rear wings present.
Description:
Ant-like.
Head somewhat inflated, rounded anteriorly, blocky posteriorly. Eyes large, placed laterally at rear half of head. Antennae mostly black, long & narrow, attached at middle of head, 2nd antennal segment much longer than others and reddish at middle (black at very base and along somewhat swollen terminal 1/3). Tip of beak (sucking mouthparts) reaching to about base of middle legs when held straight back under body.
Pronotum with hind margin abruptly upcurved at middle, forming an acute spine (cf. Fig. 1 on pg. 3 of Carvalho & Usinger(1957)). Abdomen swollen at middle, narrow at base...twice as wide at middle as greatest width of pronotum. Forewings (hemelytra) short, tapered-basally and rounded-apically, exposing last three abdominal segments. Hindwings absent.
Head, thorax, abdomen mostly black with some areas tinged rufous or brown. Narrow hind-edge of pronotum whitish; hemelytra dark overall but with a narrow, whitish, obliquely-transverse stripe positioned about 4/5's of the way to the wing apex (the stripe tapering towards the medial edge of the wing). Legs reddish (chestnut), femora darker.
Note: Lower elevation and more westerly (coastal) populations tend to have thorax reddish. Coloration seems to mimic either "black ants" or "red ants".
Range
California (Santa Cruz to Tulare Counties and north)
Print References
Bergroth, E. (1897). On two remarkable Californian Hemiptera. Ent. News 8:95 (Full Text)
Carvalho, J.C.M, and Usinger, R.L. (1957). A New Genus and Two New Species of Myrmecomorphic Miridae from North America (Hemiptera). Wasmann Jour. Biol. 15(1): 1-13. (Full Text)
Reuter, O. M. (1909). Bemerkungen ├╝ber nearktische Capsiden nebst Beschreibung neuer Arten. Acta Societatis Scientiarum Fennicae 36(2): 86 pp., 3 pl. (Full Text)
Uhler, P. R. (1894). Observations upon the heteropterous Hemiptera of Lower California, with descriptions of new species. Proc. Calif. Acad. Sci. (2)4: 223--295. (Full Text)
Internet References
iNaturalist observations of Dacerla mediospinosa