Animal of the day – 1/10/2011 – The Twisted-Winged Parasite

Twisted-Winged Parasite

The animal of the day is the Twisted-Winged Parasite aka Strepsiptera. (Did you know: These insects are parasites of bees, wasps, grasshoppers, leafhoppers and other regular ole bugs.

Their manner of parasitism is kinda jacked up though. Here we go:

1) Upon emerging from their mother’s body, the young larvae, called triunguloids, have six legs and crawl around in search of a suitable host.

2) Once a host is found, they burrow inside of them and start to molt. At this point they feed off of the hosts blood and ‘non-vital’ tissues. ‘Non-vital’ can mean, oh their sexual organs for example…

3) When the male pupa are fully grown, they pop back out of their host (looking similar to the main picture above), and fly off to find a female to mate with. Oh, and the males only live for about 5 hours after they pop out, so no need for useless organs like a mouth or anything like that. They’re basically flying penises.

The FEMALE however never leaves the host after she’s matured. Instead, she just finds a place to stick her booty through so they flying male can find her, have sex and start the whole cycle over again.

The arrows are pointing to the grown females sexual organs which she's pushed out of the host animal.

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