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Physoconops - female

Physoconops - Female
Hereford, W of Hwy. 92, lower Ash Canyon, Cochise County, Arizona, USA
September 18, 2014
On goldenrod in butterfly garden after 3" rain. SE Huachuca Mts, elev. 5010' Oak-grassland interface.

Images of this individual: tag all
Physoconops - female Physoconops - female Physoconops - female Physoconops - female

Strange taxonomic puzzle!
Regarding species possibilities, this female resembles the more colorful form of P. brachyrhynchus, as in the thumbnail below:


But P. brachyrhynchus is a mostly eastern species and has been consistently described in the literature as having a relatively small theca...i.e. appreciably shorter than the height of the tergite it's attached to, as illustrated in Figure 2 here, and the BOLD images below:

    BOLD web site Physoconops branchyrhyncus image   BOLD web site Physoconops branchyrhyncus image

In contrast, the theca in Robert's post here is quite large...distinctly longer than the tergite it's attached to, as suggested in the image at the top of this page, and seen more clearly in the 3rd image of this series. This, together with the overall gestalt here, is strongly suggestive of another out-of-range eastern species, P. excisus. But crucial characters for that species are 1) a complete post-vertical pollinose stripe, and 2) a dark spot on the cheek...both of which are totally lacking here!!

Robert's earlier post of another female from the same location on 9/14/11 looks to be the same species, also with a theca that appears too large for P. brachyrhynchus:


To make things even more interesting, Robert also made a recent companion post of a similar looking male Pachyconops from the same date, place, and flowers as the female above:


Close inspection there reveals it has the two critical characters of P. excisus mentioned above, namely: a complete post-vertical pollinose stripe; and a dark cheek spot. Seems like these sightings constitute a disjunct anomaly that mismatches characters of P. brachyrhynchus and P. excisus between the sexes!

Moved from Conopinae.

The position of cross vein "r-m"; the uniform width of the hind femora; and the large theca indicate genus Physoconops here. In addition, the relative length of the 3rd antennal segment (i.e. greater than the 2nd segment) indicates subgenus Pachyconops.

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