Twisted-wing parasites (Strepsiptera)

Greek "strepsi" (twisted) + "ptera" (wings)

Strepsiptera are parasites that live inside bees, wasps, grasshoppers, and other insects. Only the adult male has wings. The male's forewings are small and undeveloped, while the hind wings are fan-shaped and large, and are held twisted over the back at rest. The eyes protrude, and the antennae are branched. Strepsiptera larvae are grub-like, as is the female. The female lives out life inside the host insect, emerging part-way from the host in order to mate. Young larvae initially have 6 legs and crawl away from the mother looking for a suitable host. Some may climb onto flowers, waiting for bees or wasps. Once inside a host, larvae transform into a different larval form without head, legs, or antennae. Females remain in this form, while males pupate inside the host and eventually leave.

Quick ID

  • Very rarely seen
  • Segmented, branching antennae
  • Fan-shaped forewings

More information about Strepsiptera

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Last updated: Jan 3, 2017