Ptilocleptis (Halictidae) specimens requested

Doug Yanega dyanega at DENR1.IGIS.UIUC.EDU
Thu Sep 7 19:45:29 CDT 1995

Apologies, naturally, for cross-posting, but the overlap in the different
mailing lists is not complete.

Mike Engel at Cornell and I are presently at work revising the genus
Ptilocleptis, a small and obscure parasitic Neotropical Halictine taxon
related to Sphecodes; 3 described and at least 6 undescribed species. As we
know of no major depositories of material from this genus (outside our old
home, the Snow Museum in Kansas, and a few types at the MCZ), we thought
we'd send out a general Internet request to see which, if any, other insect
collections have either determined or undetermined material of this genus
to include in the revision. You never know where one might turn up...
        For those of you who would be willing to take a few extra steps to
help us, it does seem quite likely that specimens of this genus could very
easily be sitting among undetermined Sphecodes or possibly Microsphecodes
in many collections, and not impossible to separate out. The quickest and
most efficient way to spot a possible Ptilocleptis without resorting to a
microscope, for those of you willing to check, is that (a) they range from
Mexico (5 of the 9 species) to southern Brazil, so material outside this
area can be ignored (hopefully) (b) they do not have the face densely
covered with silvery hairs like most Sphecodes (c) the abdomen, in profile,
is constricted at the base of both the second metasomal tergum AND sternum,
creating a somewhat Vespid-like impression. Some species have appressed
plumose pubescence on the propodeum, all seem to have very strongly
alveolate propodeal sculpturing, extending well onto the lateral surfaces
(usually Sphecodes have much smaller alveoli, and much less extensive).
They range from 5-11 mm in length, and may or may not have reddish
abdomens. If you have any such material, I'd appreciate hearing from you
and gladly take a look at unidentified material. If you have IDed specimens
and would like the collection data included in the revision, we'd also be
grateful for that.
Thanks very much,

Doug Yanega       Illinois Natural History Survey, 607 E. Peabody Dr.
Champaign, IL 61820 USA      phone (217) 244-6817, fax (217) 333-4949
 affiliate, Univ. of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Dept. of Entomology
  "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
        is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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