Strepsiptera, the twisted-wing parasites, rank high among the oddities of the natural world. These minute insects burrow deep in the abdomens of their hosts with just enough body protruding to breath and mate. I have seen twisted-wing parasites on bees, wasps, and leafhoppers, but never before on a worker ant. Until- maybe– just this morning while processing ant photographs from Colombia.
In one image, scarcely in focus in the corner of the frame, is a too-symmetrical-to-be-random wound burned into the abdomen of a Dolichoderus lutosus worker ant. I did not notice this in the field- it’s just a happenstance capture.
I suspect this to be Strepsiptera. Can any of you with relevant expertise confirm?
***update: Strepsiptera expert Jeya Kathirithamby writes that it’s a male Strepsiptera pupa, possibly Caenocholax but confirmation isn’t possible with this image.