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Genus Conocephalus in North America north of Mexico

If you are uncertain whether Conocephalus is the correct genus for the specimen you wish to identify, these species of Orchelimum may be the source of your confusion:

Orchelimum minor is small but lives in pine trees.

Orchelimum militare has a straight ovipositor and is slender.

Orchelimum concinnum, fidicinium, and unispina are slender.

Twelve species of Conocephalus usually have short forewings but occasionally produce individuals that have the forewings longer than the abdomen: Conocephalus aigialus, attenuatus, brevipennis, hygrophilus, nemoralis, nigropleuroides, nigropleurum, occidentalis, saltans, spartinae, stictomerus, and strictus. Conocephalus cinereus, fasciatus, gracillimus, and vicinus always have forewings that exceed the abdomen, whereas the few individuals known for Conocephalus allardi, resacensis, and spinosus have short forewings.

Identification of species

Most Conocephalus males can be identified by their distinctive cerci. By comparing the dorsal view of the left cercus of a male you wish to identify with a set of illustrations for all the Conocephalus species north of Mexico, you should be able to narrow the species you need to consider to one or a very few.

Females of Conocephalus are often easiest to identify by association with males. However, in some species the ovipositor size and shape is helpful or even distinctive.

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© Thomas J. Walker

Source: Singing Insects of North America

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