Living With Strepsiptera

Strepsiptera are a small group of insects with a parasitic lifestyle. Males use only the hind wings for flight. The fore wings are highly modified structures.

The Strepsipteran, Xenos vesparum is a parasite of a paper wasp, Polistes dominulus. Males are small and are not good flyers. Females are flightless and remain partially inside the host. How can a male Strepsipteran find another infected wasp for mating with non-siblings?

Strepsipteran parasites alter the behavior of their host. Infected wasps no longer tend to their colony duties and become lethargic. They abandon the nest to form aggregations on nearby foliage. With the hosts aggregated in close proximity, a newly emerged strepsipteran male can easily locate the females in nearby wasps. Modifying host behavior to bring together Strepsiptera from different mothers is a key to mating success.

David P. Hughes, Jeyaraney Kathirithamby, Stefano Turillazzi, and Laura Beani. Social wasps desert the colony and aggregate outside if parasitized: parasite manipulation? Behavioral Ecology Vol. 15 No. 6: 1037–1043
doi:10.1093/beheco/arh111

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in behavior, by jjneal, Environment. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Living With Strepsiptera

  1. Pingback: Living With Strepsiptera – Entomo Planet

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