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Genus Orchelimum in North America north of Mexico
If you are uncertain whether Orchelimum is the correct genus for the specimen you wish to identify, these species of Conocephalus may be the source of your confusion:
Conocephalus strictus is as long and stout as many Orchelimum, but its ovipositor is much longer than the body and the forewings are nearly always shorter than the abdomen.
Conocephalus nemoralis has a short, distinctly curved ovipositor, but is brown and the wings are usually shorter than the abdomen.
Conocephalus cinereus, fasciatus, gracillimus, and vicinus have forewings that are longer than the abdomen. Furthermore, these twelve species of Conocephalus, which usually have short forewings, occasionally produce individuals that have forewings that exceed the abdomen: aigialus, attenuatus, brevipennis, hygrophilus, nemoralis, nigropleuroides, nigropleurum, occidentalis, saltans, spartinae, stictomerus, and strictus.
Identification of species
Most Orchelimum 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 illustrations of all the species north of Mexico, you should be able to narrow the species you need to consider to one or a very few.
The stridulatory areas of males are of some help in species identification, but they are more variable within a species than are the male cerci.
Females of Orchelimum are often easiest to identify by association with males. However, in some species the ovipositor shape is helpful or even distinctive.