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What makes this one a lituratus? I am trying to get my head around them. (Tinsel face wasps!)
I'd like to know that too! I'm not afraid to confess the sacrilege that my "might be this" ID is based purely on visual comparisons such as the extent of the yellow on the scutellum which I haven't seen on any other Ectemnius species I've found on-line.
The only key I have (Yeo & Corbet) relies on features you'd need to kill or at least capture the wasp to see.
If anyone knows which species in the genus can be reliably ID'd from a photograph, and what the key features are, I'd love to know. I also have possible E. continuus and cephalotes images that I'd like to confirm if I could.
Although some Ectemnius are more strongly marked than others, the pattern of yellow is variable, which is why it's not used in published keys. This is very strongly marked one, which suggests one of the 3 larger species (cephalotes, cavifrons or sexcinctus). Published keys - e.g. Naturalist's Handbook 'Solitary Wasps' which is inexpensive and easy to use - rely on characters like sculpture of the thorax, clypeal hairs golden or silver (in females) and notches in antennal segments (in males). None of these are easy to record photographically, unless you've got very high resolution and can take from more than one angle. Ideally you'd capture the specimen after photographing it: you could do ID there in the field with a hand lens.
Many thanks for explaining that Ian, very useful. I think my chances of capturing one of these are pretty slim but at least I now know what is required.
I'll push the ID back to genus.
Lat/Lng: 52.6, -1.2
OS grid ref: SK5501