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Photo#1739864
Ant mimic heteropteran from montane central Sierra - Dacerla mediospinosa

Ant mimic heteropteran from montane central Sierra - Dacerla mediospinosa
Grass Lake, El Dorado County, California, USA
July 31, 2017
In the Field: Found in the late afternoon on flowers of Angelica breweri growing in a lakeside meadow at ~7700' elevation. Surrounding habitat was montane coniferous forest.
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ID Details: By gestalt, I suspected this was a mirid. But I was thrown off a bit in trying to verify the 5 family characters given on the Miridae info page...only 3 of which hold here. That is, while this individual satisfies:

  i) lack of ocelli;
  ii) antennae long & narrow; and
  iii) legs slender

...partly suggesting Miridae...it doesn't appear to have a well-defined "cuneus", and certainly lacks a 2-celled forewing "membrane". (For heteropteran wing terminology, cf. glossary here and the top figs. on pp. 5–6 here).

Nevertheless, it turns out the species here is indeed a mirid...though one that's exceptional in that the hemelytra (= forewings) appear to have no "cuneus" or "membrane" (i.e because it has no "grooves" or "veins" separating the regions of the hemelytra corresponding to corium, cuneus, or membrane). Even so, this pretty much went to Miridae in the key to genera of Hemiptera on pg. 288 in Borror, Tripleton, & Johnson(1)(1989)...so I pursued that line further.

Since I couldn't find a more recent key to genera of Miridae, I used the treatment in VanDuzee(1916). His key to tribes of Miridae on pg. 203 led to tribe Hallodapini, and his key to genera of Hallodapini on pg. 210 led promptly to Dacerla. Once there, the treatment in Carvalho & Usinger(1957)...with further support from other references listed therein (which I've provided links to on the info page) yielded strong verification for the species ID of D. mediospinosa.
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Unresolved Issues: I still have some questions:

  1) How can I be sure I'm correct in assuming this is an adult?
  2) Is there a relatively simple way to determine whether this is a male or female?
  3) Would it be incorrect to refer to the area of the forewing (= hemelytra) beyond the transverse white stripe as "the cuneus" here?
    (There are no "sutures/grooves/wing veins" on the hemelytra here...but the area beyond the white stripe seems to be in the right "apical position" for the cuneus.)

Images of this individual: tag all
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 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 Ant mimic heteropteran from montane central Sierra - Dacerla mediospinosa

Moved to Dacerla mediospinosa
Moved from True Bugs.

I believe this is an adult, and that the short hemelytra...as well as the northern CA station here...indicate D. mediospinosa per the key and info in Carvalho & Usinger(1957).

The other CA species in the genus, D. alata, has "hemelytra complete" (i.e. covering the top of the abdomen to its tip, and with "claval, emboliar and cuneal sutures distinct"...which is not the case here). And it appears that D. alata is known only from southern California (e.g. the San Gabriel, San Bernardino, and San Jacinto Mnts).

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