Jalysus revisited … again

Jalysus (Bertyidae) is one of those frustrating genera which has been difficult for me to wrap my head around.  There are only five species north of Mexico, two of which (spinosus and wickhami) are found in the mid-western region of the United States (Henry 1997).  Jalysus wickhami is distinguished by having a tubercle on the frons while J. spinosus does not.  There are other differences in the degree of punctation on the head and the form of the male genital capsule.  I suppose what confounded me the most was having almost all females in my collection. But I had my “Eureeka” moment when keying a male Jalysus I collected this summer.  Its genital capsule was well preserved and the vertical ridge clearly visible to me.  I grabbed my specimen box and quickly sorted thru my other specimens, all previously ID’d as J. spinosus.  About half were J. wickhami.  Sometimes it just takes that one specimen to finally make the characters unambiguous.  Then it all falls into place!

Jalysus spinosus (Say) – © 2012 tom murray

Literature Cited: Henry, T.J. 1997. Monograph of the stilt bugs, or Berytidae (Heteroptera), of the Western Hemisphere. Memoirs of the Entomological Society of Washington 19: 1-149

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