What was the strange insect that seemed a mutant cross between a bee and a beetle?
Shawnee National Forest, Illinois
Kudos and all 10 points go to coleopterist extraordinaire Ted MacRae of Beetles in the Bush, who provided the correct answer Coleoptera: Rhipiphoridae: Rhipiphorus .
Rhipiphorus is unusual for a beetle. Coleoptera counts few parasites among its hundreds of thousands of described species. But the wedge-shaped beetles are ectoparasites of bees. Adults can be found on flowers, laying eggs that hatch into little bee-grabbing grubs for transportation back to the unwitting bee’s nest.