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 8x10 print from my photo galleries; or 2) a guest post on the safe-for-work topic of their choice.
I'll go with Diptera for the Order.
I'll change that to a Wasp (Hymenoptera).
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.
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"
I agree it is a Rhipiphorid.
Rhipiphoridae - specialist parasites of cockroaches.
Oh wait, it's Ripiphoridae. Do I get a point for using the correct spelling? :p
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.
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 :)