Monday Night Mystery

Tonight’s challenge is this rather unusual insect.


What is it?

Points will be awarded to the first person to pick the order (3), family (3), and genus (3). Plus, a bonus point for explaining what is unusual about this insect’s life cycle.

The cumulative winner for the month of June 2010 will get their choice of 1) any 8×10 print from my photo galleries; or 2) a guest post on the safe-for-work topic of their choice.


  1. #1 FormicidaeFantasy
    June 7, 2010

    I’ll go with Diptera for the Order.

  2. #2 FormicidaeFantasy
    June 7, 2010

    I’ll change that to a Wasp (Hymenoptera).

  3. #3 Ted C. MacRae
    June 7, 2010

    Order Coleoptera
    Family Rhipiphoridae
    Genus Rhipiphorus

  4. #4 Ted C. MacRae
    June 7, 2010

    Forgot to mention – eggs are laid on flowers, and the newly hatched larvae hitch rides on bees back to their nests, then settle in as brood parasites.

  5. #5 Beetle lover
    June 7, 2010

    Order: Coleoptera
    Family: Rhipophoridae
    Genus: probably Rhipiphorus?

    Behavior…I think I remember their larvae being parasitic on bees; they’re usually called “triungulins” where their first-instar larvae are mobile and undergo “hypermetamorphosis”

  6. #6 budak
    June 7, 2010

    Male strepsipteran?

  7. #7 Gordon C. Snelling
    June 7, 2010

    I agree it is a Rhipiphorid.

  8. #8 palaeodave
    June 8, 2010

    Rhipiphoridae – specialist parasites of cockroaches.

  9. #9 palaeodave
    June 8, 2010

    Oh wait, it’s Ripiphoridae. Do I get a point for using the correct spelling? :p

  10. #10 Erik
    June 8, 2010

    Alex, can you post sometime about the uses, functions, and forms of antennae? I notice this beetle seems to have some elaborate, beautiful antennae that seem designed for maximum surface area. I’d love to know more about the importance of feelers or antenna-like structures since they seem to be present on nearly every single bug and beetle, implying that they’re as critical as eyes or an exoskeleton.

  11. #11 Janet Creamer
    June 8, 2010

    Family-Ripiphoridae – Wedge-shaped Beetles
    From Bugguide – “Eggs are laid on or near flowers, sometimes inside unopened flower buds. Larvae attach to visiting bees and are taken back to nest, where they are internal parasites of larval hymenoptera, in some cases only in early stages”

    Thanks for the fun quiz and I learned about a new (to me) critter 🙂

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