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Vermileonidae  - Vermileo

Vermileonidae - Vermileo
oroville, butte County, California, USA
June 27, 2012
Size: 6-8 mm

Images of this individual: tag all
Vermileonidae  - Vermileo Vermileonidae #3 - Vermileo Vermileonidae #2 - Vermileo Vermileonidae # 4 - Vermileo

Additional context for this post found
...see this blogpost. Interesting commentary there...and two more photos, including one showing sandy-subtrate habitat with numerous pit-traps.

Also, EXIF data of image file here indicates a date of 6/27/2012 (though it's unclear whether that's the actual field-photo date, or perhaps the date the JPEG was saved after a photo-edit?).

Confirmation: This is indeed Vermileo
Consulting the key to dipteran larvae in the MND(1), and the figure and description therein for the larva of well as those in William Wheeler's 1930 book "Demons of the Dust"...the morphology apparent in the 4 photos here definitely indicates Vermileo.

In particular: the three thoracic segments taper anteriorly to a tiny conical head; the ventral side of the 1st abdominal segment has a single eversible median proleg with apical setae; the 7th abdominal segment, posterodorsally, has a transverse comb-like series of spines (used to help anchor the larva within its pit-trap); and the 8th (=last) abdominal segment, terminates in a transverse row of four triangular lobes, fringed with short setae.

The brick-red color of the larva here seems unusual...perhaps that was influenced by the substrate? It's also remarkably free of adhering dust/dirt/debris for a wormlion larva.

Interesting! Please provide more context and dates of photos
Thanks for posting these images, Scubasnyder. If it's indeed Vermileo, then it represents an extension and a northernmost station within the Sierran portion of the recorded range appearing in the literature. If you could provide some more supporting info (behavior and niche where found, general habitat, basis for ID), it would be much appreciated and increase the value of the post(s).

This appears to be one of 4 unlinked but related posts. The other 3 appear in the thumbnails below:


Questions: When was this photographed? And is it the the same individual as the others? (If it is the same individual, then it's customary on BugGuide to "link" the 4 photos as a single "series post"...I can explain how if you like.)

Scubasnyder...if you're still out there please fill us in a bit:

1) What was the context in which you found this? And why do you think it's Vermileo? (Without explanation, we're in the dark.)
Did you find this crawling on what appears to be a burnt log here; or within the burnt wood; or maybe feeding on algae in a nearby puddle;
or perhaps it was buried at the bottom of a small sand pit, grabbing ants as they walked past and fell in...before you placed it on the burnt log to better photograph it??
Were you in lowland open oak woodland...or higher up in coniferous forest?

It's really useful to know such things...especially for larvae, which are generally harder to identify. Viewers aren't omniscient, and contributors aren't infallible. It's very helpful to be given an idea of the basis for a contributor's putative ID...and to be able to assess whether it's reasonable, or whether a post should be moved elsewhere in BugGuide's taxonomic tree.

2) Also, please complete the date field on all BugGuide posts. It's often a critical piece of data for understanding the timing of life stages and biology of the organisms...and helps viewers try to correlate the phenology they're observing to things like elevation, habitat niche, ecological response to drought vs. heavy rain year, fire impacts, etc.

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