Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Synonymy below from (1)
, hyperlinks go to original descriptions:
Bigot, 1887, Ann. Soc. Ent. France, 7:39
Van Duzee, 1927, Proc. Calif. Acad. Sci., 16:580
Physocephala humeralis simulans
Van Duzee, 1927, Proc. Calif. Acad. Sci., 16:581
Van Duzee, 1927, Proc. Calif. Acad. Sci., 16:581
Van Duzee, 1927, Proc. Calif. Acad. Sci., 16:582
Van Duzee, 1934, Ann. Ent. Soc. Amer., 27:315
A variable species, usually reddish overall, with dorsum of thorax mostly black. Humeri and apical bands of abdominal segments often yellow dusted. Distal tergites of abdomen usually with conspicuous black spots and often yellow dusted.
Upper Head: Vertex usually a reddish-brown which varies in darkness (sometimes yellowish) with a usually darker (sometimes concolorous) red-brown transverse line at the forward edge, tapering into a perpendicular line extending down the middle of the frons...forming a "T-shaped" marking on the frons typical of nearly all nearctic species of Physocephala. In texana, this "T" is relatively thin compared to other species (and, though it can be blackish, is usually reddish-brown). Note, however, that in some forms (e.g. Van Duzee's "P. aurifacies") the vertex can be completely yellowish and concolorous with the frons and face...with no apparent "T-pattern".
Frons and Face: Concolorous, varying from yellowish to white. Facial grooves and keel concolorous with face.
Cheeks: The cheeks are usually a pale yellow at the center, grading into reddish brown at their forward and rear ends. They also can be unicolorous, either yellow or reddish.
Antennae: Antennal ratios are variable between individuals, but typically the 1st antennal segment is nearly equal to (or at least half as long) the 3rd, while the 3rd is about half as long as the 2nd. (In P. burgessi, the 1st antennal segment usually noticeably shorter).
Thorax: Reddish overall, with three black, usually confluent, longitudinal stripes filling most the dorsum...the two lateral stripes starting and extending further back than the central stripe. Humeri often with yellow-dusted dash-like markings, Scutellum red.
Abdomen: Abdominal segments red, often with thin apical bands of yellow dusting, and large black spots on the dorsum of the third tergite and those beyond...which are often covered with a fine yellow dusting.
Wings: Anterior portion dark. Central portion of discal cell hyaline.
Legs: Overall reddish; tibiae and tarsi yellowish (or reddish). Coxa usually blackish...but can be reddish or yellowish.
British Columbia to Quebec, and south to Mexico(1)
[Note: The range map on pg. 24 of Camras & Hurd(2)
indicates a range for P. texana
which includes a huge continuous swath of North America from coast to coast, including Canada & Mexico, but excluding the area consisting of southeast Texas, southern Arkansas, and the entire states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida (i.e. the Gulf states of the southeast US). However, it seems P. texana
is principally a western species...currently the easternmost data point on BugGuide is a single post from Illinois.]
Recorded larval hosts: Epibembex occidentalis beutenmuellen, Bembix comata
An extremely variable species, as evidenced by the large number of earlier names that have been synonymized. Perhaps the most commonly encountered form corresponds to Williston's affinis
and Van Duzee's humeralis
. [Note: Original descriptions of each synonym can be read via links under "Synonyms and other taxonomic changes" near the top of this page.]
mentions that Bohart raised over 100 specimens from a single bembecine wasp nest and discovered enough variation to include all five of Van Duzee's synonymized forms. Bohart gave a detailed discussion of this (2+ pages)
where he used Van Duzee's name P. affinis
to refer to what is now called P. texana
Camras & Hurd(2)
state that the color of the head varies from a very dark "T" on the front and entirely dark reddish cheeks, to complete absence of any dark pattern on the front and face.
is much like P. texana
but has a subtly darker "brick red" hue; typically lacks black spots and yellow "dust" on the abdomen; and has a single median black stripe on the thorax. Bohart(1941)
discusses in detail ways to distinguish P. texana
(there referred to using the synonym P. affinis
) and P. burgessi
The very similar species Physocephala sagittaria
and Physocephala marginata
are also quite variable...and their more reddish forms can be very difficult to distinguish from P. texana
. Moreover, both species co-occur with P. texana
in parts of the mid-west, while P. marginata
& P. texana
can co-occur in the west. The most salient difference is that P. sagittaria
& P. marginata
have dark facial grooves(4)
, whereas P. texana
has pale facial grooves:
Also, see Physoconops fronto
, which differs from P. texana
in shape of the discal cell and placement of cross-vein "r-m" as in Physoconops
and in the conspicuously contrasting color between its black tarsi and yellow claws and pulvilli.
Bohart, George E., & J. W. MacSwain (1939). The life history of the sand wasp, Bembix occidentalis beutenmuelleti
Fox and its parasites. Bull. So. Calif. Acad. Sci., 38(2):84-97 (Full Text
Bohart, George E. (1940). A record of Physocephala affinis
Williston as a parasite of adult Bembix comata
Parker. Pan-Pacific Entomologist, 16(1):16 (Full Text
Bohart, George E. (1941). A review of the genus Physocephala
of the western United States (Diptera, Conopidae). Pan-Pacific Entomologist, 17(3):141-144 (Full Text
Camras, Sidney (1957). "A review of the New World Physocephala (Diptera: Conopidae)". Ann. Ent. Soc. Am. 50:213-218.
Camras, Sidney (1996). "New information on the New World Physocephala (Diptera: Conopidae)", Entomological News, 107(2): 104-112 (Full Text
Camras, Sidney, and Paul D. Hurd, Jr. 1957. The Conopid Flies of California (Diptera). Bulletin of the California Insect Survey. Vol.6, No.2 (Full Text PDF