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Photo#388991
Los Angeles wormlion - Vermileo opacus

Los Angeles wormlion - Vermileo opacus
Duarte, Los Angeles County, California, USA
As far as I can tell, this discovery either represents a dramatic range extension for Vermileo comstocki or a new species. Also see this forum topic. Mr. Nakamoto has a captive larva he has been feeding since August 2009 in hopes of seeing the adult. Here is a video he shot of this larva capturing an ant.

Images of this individual: tag all
Los Angeles wormlion - Vermileo opacus Los Angeles wormlion - Vermileo opacus Los Angeles wormlion - Vermileo opacus Los Angeles wormlion - Vermileo opacus Los Angeles wormlion - Vermileo opacus Los Angeles wormlion - Vermileo opacus Los Angeles wormlion - Vermileo opacus

Moved
Moved from Vermileo.

Any updates?
I've been finding these recently in the area.

 
None that I know of
I notice, however, that this one seems to have white mouthparts. He preserved the specimen but never ended up sending it to me.

Great find! I just found some
Great find! I just found some larvae up at lake Tahoe! Try to rear them. I have found adults of V. comstocki in Wrightwood (North of LA). There are only 2 species and they are easy to distinguish, one has white palpi (V opaca) and one has black palpi and is bigger and darker (comstocki). I am always interested if somebody has more locations, because very little is known about the distribution and often they are easier to find as larvae...

 
Range of V. opacus
According to the (old) literature I checked out a while ago, Vermileo opacus has only been found at the head of King's Canyon in Nevada and near Alamogordo, New Mexico. Do you know if it has been found anywhere else?

Also, in case you missed it, in the forum topic I linked to above, there is mention of another location in LA County where larvae have been found.

 
Apparently V. opacus is known from many other locales!
I just did a lot of sleuthing on Vermileo...inspired by news from Joyce Gross that she recently found both larvae and adults of V. comstocki (present simultaneously) about 25 miles northwest of Lake Tahoe.

Note that Coquillett's 1904 type locality for V. opacus was "near the head of King's Canyon, Ombsby Co., NV". Some may find that a bit tricky to locate nowadays...since Ombsby County, NV ceased to exist in 1969! :-). But I think it's about 7-10 miles east of Lake Tahoe...somewhere around here. Note the Cole & Schlinger(1)(1965) mention a July collection of P. comstocki from Donner Pass. All three of these locales are relatively close to one another.

Regarding other locality records for V. opacus... DeLeon(1938) indicates it was found in Zion Nat. Park, UT; Mesa Verde Nat. Park, CO; and Bandolier Nat. Mon, NM (which is quite a bit north of the Alamogordo locality).

And Pechuman(1938) indicates V. opacus was also found in Arroyo Seco, Pasadena, CA. Here's a photo from "Altadena" (just north of Pasadena) on a LA County Museum of Natural History web page.

The above, plus Martin's mention of a locality near Wrightwood (just northeast of LA); "critterguy"'s sighting near Big Bear in southwestern San Bernardino Co.; Tokuo Nakamoto's post from Duarte, and James Bailey's recent post from Orange County...all indicate that the southern California counties of the "greater LA area" now have a significant number of known localities (and probably more undiscovered ones).

PS: Note that DeLeon(1938) also stated that V. comstocki was found in Pinnacle Nat. Monument...extending it's known localities beyond the the Sierra Nevada (i.e. the Lake Tahoe area and Wheeler's 1918 type locality "Alta Meadow" in Sequoia Nat. Park).

 
King's Canyon?
I know where Queen's Canyon is, which is just over the border with NV, a little north of the White Mountains.

 
Royal Dipteran Domains
I'm sure there's interesting stuff there!

If not some Vermileo, then maybe some Apiocera or Mydidae? (As in "King...and Queen...Mydas" :-)

 
Thanks for all that info!
Do you agree that this fly seems to have white palpi and should be moved to V. opacus? And should any/all of the images be moved out of the V. comstocki section given that they were identified based only on being found in the Sierras?

 
Yes, I think this is likely V. opacus
...I just cross-posted that thought on the 2nd to last image in this series, while you were posting here :-)

I've already made a guide page for P. opacus...in anticipation of the move for the series here and James recent post.

I don't know about species ID for the larval posts from the Sierras...though my guess is they probably are V. comstocki.

PS: I forgot to mention a number of records also reported from Idaho recently, see Peterson & Baker(2006) under "Print References" on the genus info page.

Wow! Excellent addition to BugGuide!
It is fantastic to finally see some images here of an adult wormlion! Thanks for posting these images Charley, and I'm certain that many of us here on BugGuide would like to express our sincere thanks to Mr. Nakamato for his commitment to raising and documenting this larva.

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