Females of most Strepsiptera, or twisted-wing parasites, are parasites that never leave their host - here the host is a bee (you are looking at the abdomen of the bee). For this specialized life-style, females lack wings and legs, and only the head region sticks out of the host’s body (as seen here). The parasites often make the host unable to produce offspring, and in some cases, hosts with these parasites are known to have characteristics of both male and females. The male parasite has wings and can fly, and finds the females sticking out of the host’s body; however, the males are very uncommon, or at least, are not commonly collected.
Apr 17, 2014
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cory Sheffield, Ph.D.
Curator of Invertebrate Zoology