Download high resolution image here.
I found this resting on the leaf of an Alcea sp.
(Hollyhock) plant not yet in bloom in Albuquerque, NM (Alameda 7.5’ quadrangle
It looks like a wasp with bipectinate antennae and only one pair of wings capable of supporting flight. The other (front) pair are greatly reduced in size and shell-shaped. The lateral antenna filaments were much straighter and arraigned in two rows of parallel filaments in life. They vaguely resembled the lateral filaments of some moth antennae, but with the rows at an acute angle to each other instead of being coplanar. They curled during desiccation after being removed from the alcohol in which the insect was killed. At first glance, I assumed it was be a wasp-mimicking moth. Upon closer examination, it appears to be an actual wasp (UPDATE: it's a beetle!).
I've added new images detailing four key candidate features that might
distinguish R. rex
from R. vierecki
, as discussed in the Possible Misidentifications forum
, and under Aaron Schusteff's images
, assuming that they are indeed distinguishable and not synonymous.
Evans and Hogue(1)
, state R. rex
is found in New Mexico and, "It is unique among the species of Ripiphorus
in having a serrated outer edge of the middle tibiae". This is shown in the right middle leg
and was the basis for moving this specimen to rex
identifies as significant characteristics of rex
"the deep and very oblique apical emargination of the first segment of the hind tarsi, the densely hairy elongate projection on the inner side of the front coxae at apex, and the median carination of the dorsal segments of the abdomen". My inner rear leg
view shows a metatarsus consistent with this description. The coxal projection may be that shown in Aaron Schusteff's image
. Closer inspection of a captured specimen is needed, though, to rule out this just being the underside of a right femur. Regardless, there is nothing like this seen in my specimen's ventral
, ventral close
, or lateral close
views. None of the images of the subject species posted to date on BG appear to show a dorsal abdomenal carination. Note, though, from my posterior view
that the dorsal abdomenal integument is laterally compressed and folded flat due to desiccation. It may be that the "carination" reported in the dried museum specimens used by Vaurie is an artifact of this process.
This image is derived from a stack of 67 images with a 113 µm step taken with a reversed Leitz Focotar-2 50 mm F/4.5
enlarging lens set to F/5.6 + extension tube + Nikon D300 camera, and processed with CombineZP