Parnopes grandior, Val d’Arda (PC), N Italy, August 2020

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Parnopes grandior, Val d’Arda (PC), N Italy, August 2020

Postby briang » 16 Sep 2020 12:31

For a change I’m not asking for an identification: this must be Parnopes grandior. Is it the easiest chrysidid to recognise? Of course, I didn’t know what it was until I’d searched to the end of the ‘species and thumbnails’ page here. It was seen in late August at about 1275m on the south side of M. Menegosa (Val d’Arda, PC, N Italy), where one small area of sandy substrate is used by nesting Philanthus and Bembix tarsata, also Halictis scabiosae. A footpath crosses the area, it is steeply sloping and liable to serious erosion by footsteps and water. It seems like a bad choice for nesting but I assume the substrate is favourable. Also present is Hedychrum rutilans, kindly identified in this forum (post on 21 August).

At first I didn’t recognise the Parnopes as a chrysidid, it appeared so much bigger than the Hedychrum, and the mainly red abdomen was different to the metallic carmine or magenta of many chrysidids. The large reddish-brown tegulae were very obvious in flight. It was very flighty and sudden in movements, often landing for less than one second before flying a few centimetres, and it would travel several metres in a very short time. It was very difficult to follow it up or down the mountainside. On another day I got a few images which are OK for record purposes, although not as close or clear as I would like (an objective for next year...!). Last seen on 26 August. One accidental shot of it in flight shows the antennae held vertically downward; I wondered if it might be able to sense proximity to host Bembix nests in this position?

Brian
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Re: Parnopes grandior, Val d’Arda (PC), N Italy, August 2020

Postby Frank_Canon » 16 Sep 2020 14:47

Very nice observation briang, was hard job but I found 2 specimens this year and always in flight, never looking for Bembix nests on the ground like here...
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Re: Parnopes grandior, Val d’Arda (PC), N Italy, August 2020

Postby briang » 16 Sep 2020 17:55

Thank you Frank. I wish I had found it earlier to try and get more opportunities to photograph it! This one was hard to keep in touch with and was almost never still. By the way, I always enjoy your beautifully detailed images.
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