Panorpa acuta Carpenter, 1931
Diagnosis: This species is part of the nebulosa group with spotted wings and no anal horn on the male 6th abdominal tergite. It is part of the subgroup of species with a group of bristles at the meso-apical corner of the basistyles and bristles along the mesal surface of the hypovalves. Like P. nebulosa, males of this species has gradually curved ventral parameres. However, unlike any of the species in this group, males of P. acuta lack apical lobes on the 9th abdominal tergite.
Distribution – Geographical: This species is widespread in the mountains along the East Coast of the U.S.A. from New Hampshire southward to Georgia and westward to Tennessee and Kentucky.
Distribution – Temporal: 28 May until 11 August from 3450 ft. to 4800 ft.
Ecology: This species appears to inhabit the mountainous regions of mixed deciduous forest. Where this species is found at Mountain Lake Biological Station, Virginia, the habitat is moist and heavily shaded with good understory of herbaceous vegetation that includes many lady-slipper orchids.
Biology: This species has been reared by George W. Byers and the 4th instar larva described by Ann Boese (1973).
Notes: Females are indistinguishable from Panorpa nebulosa.
The name acuta means sharp or pointed, and may refer to the more pointed tip of the hypovalves, when compared to the closely related P. nebulosa.
As Byers (1954) mentioned, although Appalachian populations of this species have male 9th tergite truncated straight across the tip of the segment, populations from Michigan (and New England) have tiny lobes at the apical corners.
Boese, A.E. 1973. Descriptions of larvae and key to fourth instars of North American Panorpa (Mecoptera: Panorpidae). Kansas University Science Bulletin, 50:163-186.
Carpenter, F.M. 1931. Revision of the Nearctic Mecoptera. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology. 72:205-277.