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Spider Wasp - Cryptocheilus pallidipenne - female

Spider Wasp - Cryptocheilus pallidipenne - Female
Rancho Santa Fe, San Diego County, California, USA
May 23, 1974
Size: Body length 14mm
Any further ID help with this wasp is appreciated - Thanks!.

Images of this individual: tag all
Spider Wasp - Cryptocheilus pallidipenne - female Spider Wasp - Cryptocheilus pallidipenne - female Spider Wasp - Cryptocheilus pallidipenne - female Spider Wasp - Cryptocheilus pallidipenne - female Spider Wasp - Cryptocheilus pallidipenne - female

Moved from Cryptocheilus.

Further support for Cryptocheilus ID
Studying Townes(1) (in particular his keys and his genus description of Cryptocheilus on pg. 68) the wing venation here strongly supports Cryptocheilus. Among other things:

1) In the fore wing, the 1st recurrent vein (1m-cu) meets the second submarginal cell (S2) near its midpoint; and 2) In the hind wing, the nervellus meets the discoidella before (i.e. basad of) the cubitella. (This is visible in the photo by zooming in on the left wing using a web browser).
Note: The somewhat arcane hindwing venation terminology above is clearly illustrated in Fig. 1a on pg. 7 of Townes(1). The 1st recurrent vein and submarginal cells are indicated in the forewing posts below for other pepsines:


The genus Entypus, seen in the thumbnails above is very similar to Cryptocheilus. But in Entypus the above characters differ as follows:

1') In the fore wing, the 1st recurrent vein (1m-cu) meets the second submarginal cell (S2) within its distal 1/4; and 2') In the hind wing, the nervellus typically meets the discoidella at or just beyond the cubitella (barely visible in the left hind wing in Robyn's post).

Thank you Nick!
Moved from Spider Wasps.


C. pallidipenne?
This is clearly a female...from the convolute antennae w/ 10 flagellomeres. Using the key for females of Cryptocheilus in Townes(1), it appears to go to C. pallidipenne. Below is a quote of the relevant couplets from that key [where I've used green text below to indicate character agreement with the post here]:

1a. Flagellum entirely orange, or its basal segment partly fuscous; wings largely orange; body pubescence dark gray......2 1b. Flagellum entirely blackish; body pubescence blackish............................3
2a. Mandible, when not worn, about 0.75 as long as the extreme width of the clypeus; apex of mandible not unusually broad; clypeus a little shorter and a little more strongly convex; range: Arizona and California.................pallidipenne (Banks) 2b. Mandible, when not worn, about 0.85 as long as the extreme width of the clypeus; apex of mandible broad; clypeus a little longer and a little less convex; range: Tennessee, Louisiana, Texas, and Iowa.............attenuatum Banks
In Townes(1) description of pallidipenne he states:

Black. "Body pubescence dark gray; flagellum orange, its first segment infuscate basally; wings orange-yellow, the apical 0.21 +/- of
the forewing and the apical margin of the hind wing fuscous.

Thank you Aaron!
I sure appreciate the time you have taken to provide further identification for this spider wasp collected from a long ago year. I believe you have, via the quotes from Town's key, shown that this specimen is species Cryptocheilus pallidipenne; which adds a new species to the genus on BugGuide!

Again - Thanks!


Yes...appears to be a new species for the guide :-)
I too am fairly convinced this is indeed C. pallidipene. And assuming that ID is correct, it's especially nice to have a clear representative photo like yours here on help in distinguishing it from the similar looking California taxon Entypus unifasciatus californicus. For instance, see the discussions in the posts below:


But I'm somewhat hesitant on the species ID here, because in separating C. pallidipene from P. attenuatum we've depended entirely on geographic range above (i.e. "Arizona and California" for pallidipene, versus points fairly far to the east for attenuatum). However, Nick Fensler has commented elsewhere that the geographic range info in Townes(1)(1957) can sometimes be very particular regarding C. attenuatum, which would be the second best species candidate here.

Beyond separating the two species by range disjunction, the 2nd couplet of Townes' key (quoted in my comment above) also refers to some mandible and clypeus characters...although they seem like they might be difficult to interpret, even with a good specimen like the one in your photo. The least ambiguous of those characters is:

      Apex of mandible not unusually broad...vs....Apex of mandible broad

...though, even there, Townes still used the wiggle-room phrase "not unusually". (Arghh!!!...some taxomonic distinctions can be so annoyingly subtle and/or vaguely defined!)

So, Jim, if by chance you still have the specimen (from 1974!), it would be great if you could post a clear close-up showing details of the mandibles and clypeus :-). Although it does seem to me there's enough of a basis here to make a guide page for C. pallidipene and move this post would nevertheless be nice to try to assess those mandible and clypeus characters if possible.

I still have it ...
... mothballed away in a box stored in an old chest freezer out in the garage out back. I will try to find some time next monday to get it and photograph the mandibles and clypeus, and perhaps a ventral view also.

would not attempt an identification without both species (preferably a series of each) in-hand for comparison. I have seen many specimens of C. attenuatum but fewer C. pallidipenne, but from my experience the two characters in question are subtly and continuously variable and care must be used to make certain measurements are taken in the same plane of view.

Ideally, it would be nice to have series of each in hand
...but we can only do what we can do!

I was able to view three females of C. pallidipenne at the California Academy of Sciences collection yesterday (no males were available). Unfortunately, they did not have any specimens of C. attenuatum. Next time I visit the Essig Museum at UC Berkeley I hope to be able to examine specimens of both species. I'd guess the Bohart Museum at UC Davis (closer than the Essig for Jim) might also have specimens of both species.

In the meantime, I've made a post of the nicest specimen in the CAS collection. Jim, see if you can fruitfully compare your specimen in hand with the images in my post below:


I included a number of views of the clypeus and mandibles, and also relevant quotes from Townes(1) below the posted images.

I also added salient info from Townes(1) and elsewhere on the Cryptocheilus pallidipenne Info page.

Fantastic, Jim!
That's impressive you still have it! I had figured it was a long-shot request, unlikely to be realized.

I'll look forward to whatever you may be able to get. (Love working on things like this with fellow BugGuide contributors :-)

Photo updates
I have updated the dorsal photo and added three others. Nick's advice may be advisable. I do appreciate your help and comments - very nice!

Great, Jim :-)
Your 4th (frontal) image showing the clypeus and mandibles is the most crucial one here...but it's a bit under-lit for me to "read" as well as I'd like. In particular, I'm having a hard time discerning the endpoints of the mandibles.

I don't know if your available photographic equipment allows, but if you could "up" the light and/or flash amount a bit...and also the magnification/pixel size of the image...then I think we may have a good shot at verifying the "0.75" mandible-to-clypeus ratio here.

See my two posts below, to get an idea of what I'm referring to above...where, like you, I endeavored to get "a good viewpoint", as Nick advised for measuring the two lengths:


As Nick suggested, the ideal situation for getting a good sense for distinguishing P. pallidipenne and P. attenuatum would be to have good series for both species in hand, together with a quality microscope equiped with a calibrated eyepiece reticule. And even then, we'd have to make lots of adjustments of the orientation of the specimen in order to attempt to get precise measurements.

But lacking that ideal situation, I nevertheless believe that...if we can get frontal clypeus + mandible images with relatively good viewpoints, and make measurements on the images in a photo-editing program like Photoshop (e.g. using units of "pixels"), then we may be able to get acceptable results in trying to verify Townes 0.75 versus 0.85 mandible-to-clypeus ratios for pallidipenne vs. attenuatum, respectively.

One more...
... face view added, a bit nicer image. My photoshop program does not have the measuring tool; so if you can do the math - that would be appreciated - Thanks.

Extra frontal image helped clarify mandible length
I've made modified versions of your two recent frontal shots (hope that's good by you...if not, I can delete them). I added labels indicating the relevant lengths, their pixel measures, and the resulting ratio.


Interestingly, it seems to me your specimen keys better to C. attenuatum than C. pallidipenne...justifying Nick's caution that we not simply go with the range info given in Townes (which would suggest C. pallidipenne for your San Diego location here). I'll be curious to see whether there are other CA specimens of C. attenuatum in the Essig Museum collection when I visit there in the near future.

Looks good ...
... to me; again thank you for taking the time to do research for this specimen. Perhaps someday the two species will be determined to be actually the same species; or related subspecies.

Yep, perhaps someday they'll be "lumped"
...that same notion occurred to me. Such things happen often!

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