The curious case of Okanagana arctostaphylae

It started with a post. https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/53902805
Innocent enough; a red cicada on white netting. Except it really wasn't. This was Okanagana arctostaphylae and it was the first time it had been seen since it was described by Van Duzee in 1915, 105 years ago. The question then became, were there more? @easmeds set out to find them and find them he did!

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/54571493

That they had remained undiscovered for so long is in part a testament to their superior camouflage and in part to people not looking for them. Part of that was due to it having been so long since they were seen, but it highlights the importance of always keeping an open mind and an open eye.

Thanks to the specimens taken we now have a DNA sample to figure out what the evolutionary relationship of O. arctostaphylae is. Is it really related to O. opacipennis like Davis thought when he described the latter as a subspecies in 1926? Or is it something else entirely?

Publicado por willc-t willc-t, 01 de agosto de 2020

Comentarios

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Awesome story @willc-t and @easmeds!

Publicado por dan_johnson hace 1 día (Marca)
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@dan_johnson The mystery goes deeper; in 1917 Davis described another similar species from Baja called Okanagana aurantiaca. That species is also red and black and likely found on manzanita and it hasn't been seen since its description and I believe is only known from two specimens. Is it also hiding, just waiting to be found? Another species from that paper, Clidophleps astigma was recently posted to iNaturalist from Baja.

Publicado por willc-t hace 1 día (Marca)

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