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Xero-like female - Anoplius apiculatus - female

Xero-like female - Anoplius apiculatus - Female
Holla Bend NWR, Pope County, Arkansas, USA
July 4, 2006
Size: 9.5mm
Captured this wasp on the sand shore of the Arkansas River in 2006. Just now got around to trying to key most of my Pompilid wasps. This thing nearly broke my spirit on the online pictoral key from the Pompilid project. Kept going to genera we should not have. And indeed we thought it was from a monotypic genus previously known only from CA and AZ. Note the grayish look of the thorax and the bright red abdomen. Looked like an Ageniella but does not have Pepsinae features. Three strong comb spines (not seen well here). Wingtips with a dark banding effect. Apicoterminal bristles enough to make it Anoplius apiculatus apiculatus and not the SW Xerochares. Eric was suspicious as below. Moved.

Images of this individual: tag all
Xero-like female - Anoplius apiculatus - female Xero female - Anoplius apiculatus - female Xero-like female - Anoplius apiculatus - female


You won't believe this, but I was trying to key out a nearly identical wasp last night, that was collected by Margarethe Brummermann near Tucson. I came out at this species, or Anoplius (Arachnophroctonus) apiculatus apiculatus (Smith). I couldn't get a good view of the underside to the terminal tarsal segment on the front leg to see the configuration of the tiny spines, essentially the deciding factor in separating these two. All this makes me think that maybe you have Anoplius a. apiculatus here. It is known from Texas, east almost to Louisiana, according to the map in "California Spider Wasps of the Subfamily Pompilinae", by M.S. Wasbauer and L.S. Kimsey (Bulletin of the California Insect Survey, Volume 26, 1985). I'll be curious what Nick has to say about that possibility. Really nice find in any event, you lucky dog:-)

Xero. vs. Anoplius
This is the species that Evans specifically mentions in his volumes on the Pompilini. Xerochares appears in volume 3 and A. apiculatus in volume 2. There are a few other things that direct comparison seems to show. In apiculatus he mentions a "deep median sulcus at the base of the first abdominal tergite". I don't have an Anoplius here but I can't make this character right on mine. The fifth tarsal segment on my specimen is definitely spined in a median row. There are essentially no dark hairs on the front and vertex as defined in the Anoplius. Specimen will likely go to Nick.

I guess...
I was under the assumption from your e-mails last night that the genus Anoplius had already been eliminated because of the lack of bristles on the apicotergite. That is the real key character. In none of the shots that you sent me was the apicotergite in focus so I didn't really look. Maybe I should have...but keep in mind the stiff bristles are difficult to see in the apiculatus species group, not nearly as prominent as other Anoplius. If there are no bristles I'd say Xerochares, if there are bristles it is definitely an Anoplius and judging from the dull abdomen I'd say Eric is right on this one (A. apiculatus).

I certainly did not call the apicotergite bristled when I was going past that split. Will send photo when I am home and try and improve whole image photo.

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