Panorpodes colei Byers, 2004
Diagnosis: Rostrum long. Tarsal claws smooth, without teeth. Wings yellowish, without markings. Females fully winged and strong flyers. Adults, with wings, about 18 mm long. Males robust, with large genital bulb.
Distribution – Geographical: Only known from one mountainside (Pacific Crest Trail at Buck’s Summit) near Quincy in Plumas County, California. This locality is in the high Sierra Nevada mountain range.
Distribution – Temporal: This species has only been collected during the first two weeks of July.
Ecology: This species is only found near a wet, seepage area high on the mountainside (1815 to 1900 m) near Buck’s Summit. The area is mostly open and sunny with low Manzanita (Arctostaphylos) bushes that grow close to the ground, probably due to the deep and long-lasting winter snow. Adults rest on the Manzanita leaves and fly rapidly when disturbed. They seem to be most abundant during the cooler morning hours and disappear in the heat of the afternoon.
Biology: Nothing is known of immature stages or life history.
Notes: The discovery of this species left students of Mecoptera incredulous. There are no other species known from anywhere in the Western Hemisphere and it was found in a state with a large number of entomological collectors. The apparent reason that it went so long without discovery is the extremely restricted distribution and isolation of the high mountains.
Pollmann et al. (2008) have found this species to be the most primitive species of Panorpodidae and through a progressive series of steps have traced the development and migration of the family around the world, ending up with the most derived species of the family, Brachypanorpa oregonensis, living only 300 kms from Buck’s Summit.
The species is named for Jeffrey A. Cole, the collector of the type series.
Byers, G.W. 2005. Panorpodes discovered in North America (Mecoptera: Panorpodidae). 78(1);71-74
Pollmann, C., B. Misof, and K.P. Sauer. 2008. Molecular phylogeny of panorpodid scorpionflies: An enigmatic, species-poor family of Mecoptera (Insecta). Organisms, Diversity, and Evolution 8(2):77-83.