Monday Night Mystery

Ok, so we all know this is a wasp.  But what's with the lumps near the tip of the abdomen?

Ten points for identifying the lump, and five points for anyone ambitious enough to put a name on the wasp, too.

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The magical mystery lump from last night? As many astute readers noted, they are insects in the enigmatic order Strepsiptera.  They live as parasites in the bodies of other insects. Considering the host species (Isodontia mexicana, a sphecid wasp), the streps are probably in the genus Paraxenos.…
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Alright, Sherlock.  What's going on here? Five points each for the identity of the big round thing, for the insect at the top, and for the insect at the side. Ten points for describing the story. And a freebie point to anyone who comes up with an idea for what to do with all these points. This…

Strepsiptera on a crabrioninae? Just a quick guess.

By Joshua King (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

I too think they are Streps.

By Invictacidal (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Nuts they beat me to it, I too think streps.

By Gordon Snelling (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Female strep.

By Scot Waring (not verified) on 15 Mar 2010 #permalink

Maybe the bumps are the eggs of another species and the wasp has been parasitized?

By tuckerlancaster (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Let's try again:

Sphecid: Isodontia auripes

Strepsiptera: Paraxenos auripedis

By Joshua King (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

man, what a picture...

According to my sources, Josh King is close, but auripes should have yellow legs, so Isodontia mexicana seems like a better guess.

No streps listed for mexicana, but it looks like a male pupa.

The lumps have to be strepsiptera, that's about all I know though

By Cazakatari (not verified) on 16 Mar 2010 #permalink

Hi guys,

It is a pupal strespipteran and it is a male. The female has an extruded cephalothorax which is dorso-ventrally compressed and very diffciult to see. Requires a hand lens mostly.

The pupa of the male has a line of weakness so when ready the top breaks off and the male emerges for his short (5 hour) non-feeding live. The male mates with the female through the head and sperm goes into her body to fertilise her egss (no ovaries). And the best part...the live young (1st instars) emerge from the females head.

Females never leave their host (they have no antennae, mouth, gut, segmentation or ovaries)

By David Hughes (not verified) on 18 Mar 2010 #permalink