Answer to the Monday Night Mystery

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.  Here are a couple more shots:

Assuming my math is correct, here’s your point breakdown:

Ted McRae: 20
: 20
Joshua King: 20
Gordon Snelling: 10
Scot Waring: 10
Invictacidal: 10
: 10
tuckerlancaster: 5

I gave ten points for identifying the mystery as a Strepsiptera, five for picking the genus of the wasp, and an extra five points for being more specific on either count.

I’m holding on the wasp in hopes of rearing out some males to photograph. I’ve never seen live males before.

6 thoughts on “Answer to the Monday Night Mystery”

  1. Ooh – this devout coleopterist did pretty good for once.

    I sincerely hope you are able to rear them out. I’ve never seen a male strepsipteran myself – must change that.

  2. I have seen male Strepsipterans (Elenchus tenuicornis, a parasite of hoppers) in malaise trap samples, if nothing else. They were as bizarre as I anticipated.

    1. I’d never heard of a Malaise trap before, and at first I was picturing some sort of trap where you catch insects that are either sick or lost the will to live. Now that I see what it really is, maybe I should set one of them up in the back yard.

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