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Collops histrio, male dorsal - Collops histrio - male

Collops histrio, male dorsal - Collops histrio - Male
Sandia Mountains, Bernalillo County, New Mexico, USA
April 29, 2012
Size: 4.8 mm
Download high resolution image here.

I collected 3 males and 3 females of this species on 29APR2012 (including this one) by sweeping long grass with a net near Cienega Trl. 148, 7400 ft, Sandia Crest 7.5’ quadrangle in the Sandia Mountains, Bernalillo Co, NM. I posted a female here:

The subject male keys to Collops histrio in Fall 1912(1) and matches the images at the Harvard MCZ database(2). A critical key feature is "Basal joint of antenna in the male sinuately excavate or impressed on its posterior face". This is best seen in the anterior and posterior head views (compare MCZ ventral view). Other than that, the key is pretty straight-forward, keying to color patterns and (ventral view) wing development.

Reds faded to orange during chemical treatment. The abdomen in life is very soft and would have shrivelled significantly otherwise, as may be seen in the ventral view of an untreated specimen in the same genus. To prevent this, I soaked the specimen for a few days each in 95% ethanol, acetone, fresh acetone, HMDS(3), then fresh HMDS. The HMDS was then left to evaporate slowly in a covered (but unsealed) glass petri dish. I've subsequently found that the final HMDS soak only results in a small incremental improvement. Acetone alone does a pretty good job, as discussed here.

This image is from a CombineZP processed stack of 141 images with a 28 micron step taken with a Nikon CFN Plan 4X 0.13 NA microscope objective + adapter/extension tube + Nikon D300 camera.

Images of this individual: tag all
Collops histrio, male dorsal - Collops histrio - male Collops histrio, male ventral - Collops histrio - male Collops histrio, male anterior - Collops histrio - male Collops histrio, male posterior head - Collops histrio - male

Moved from Collops.

Collops histrio - det A. J. Mayor
I've sent the two specimen imaged here to Dr. Mayor. Here is his response:

"I got the specimens and did a careful comparison with both specimens of C. histrio and C. blandus. It turns out that the specimens I have labeled C. blandus and those labeled C. histrio are apparently the same species. The antennae and male genitalia are the same. Both were described by Erichson 1840 in the same paper. If someone checks the types and finds they are identical, the two could be synonymized, and C. histrio would have page priority, so would be the senior synonym.

"Bottom line is that you are correct and the specimens can stand as C. histrio. The main reason I was sceptical is that C. histrio was described from California, giving it a very large distributional range. However, there are several other species of Collops which also have very large distributions, being tied to the distributions of the plants on who's pollen they feed as adults. Good to get this cleared up."

Moved from Collops blandus.

I'm doubtful of A. J. Mayor's species ID. It keys to histrio, as best I can determine. I would be happy to donate the pair to a museum which has examples of both species to compare to, and someone willing and able to do so and report back. Are there any suggestions?

Moved tentatively based on the following A.J. Mayor's comment:
"After looking through the literature, I suspect that this is Collops blandus Erichson. C. pulchellus Horn is a synonym, but tragically the type is a female. C. blandus is known from Arizona, Texas (as C. pulchellus) and various localities in Mexico. The color of the antennomeres and legs is, according to Champion, 1914, variable, but Champion does indicate that antennomere 1 is expanded apically, and I interpret this as being triangular. If I have seen C. blandus it was years ago. It does not appear to be a common species, so this may be a very good record, and of course being known from Arizona and Texas, it would be expected from New Mexico. Hopefully the specimens will end up in a museum where they will be available for examination. Best I can do for now."

Moved from Collops.

blandus vs. histrio
Thank you and Dr. Mayor for your assistance. I'm still pretty sure it's histrio. blandus (syn. pulchellus) and histrio are distinguished by Fall 1912(1) by:

Abdomen and legs red, the tibiae usually dusky (pulchellus)
Abdomen heavily maculate with black, rarely entirely red, legs black (histrio).

and by Marshall 1952(2):

Elytra more coarsely punctate, shining; legs black (histrio)
Elytra more finely punctate, dull; legs usually all pale (blandus)

The subject specimens have coarsely punctate but shiny elytra, and black legs. Although the male's abdomen is a entirely red (rare for histrio), the female's is maculate. As for the legs of blandus being variable according to Champion(3), Marshall reports only that Champion "mentions a 'short series' of blandus from Vera Cruz which has black legs." In general, though, Marshall states of histrio, "The male is easily distinguished from its allies by the shape of the first antennal segment and the black legs." The first antenna segment of the subject male resembles that of histrio in the Harvard MCZ database(4). The MCZ ventral view shows clearly that, as with blandus, it is expanded apically. Finally, Leng 1920 (5) records histrio as being found in New Mexico, not just expected to be there.

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