Living With Strepsipteran Larvae

larva

Styles ovinae, first instar larva
Image: Knauthe & Colleagues*

Twisted wing parasites are an enigmatic group of insects due to their small size and unusual life history. They are most closely related to the beetles (Coleoptera), but lack elytra, the hard forewings found in beetles.  Stylops ovinae is a parasite of an Andrenid bee.   Immatures are streamlined and covered with hairs. Larvae are mobile and have functional legs.  As seen in image (left) two long cerci extend from the tip of the abdomen. The role and function of these appendages are unknown. The larvae are at the extreme lower size range for insects, and many unique morphological changes occur that adapt them to a small size.

*Pieter Knauthe, Rolf G. Beutel, Thomas Hörnschemeyer & Hans Pohl. 2016. Serial block-face scanning electron microscopy sheds new light on the head anatomy of an extremely miniaturized insect larva (Strepsiptera). Arthropod Systematics and Phylogeny. 74(2): 107–126.

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.
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One Response to Living With Strepsipteran Larvae

  1. Pingback: Living With Strepsipteran Larvae – Entomo Planet

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