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strepsipteran parasite larvae emerging

strepsipteran parasite larvae emerging

Females of Halictoxenos borealis, a species of strepsipteran, or twisted-wing insect, spend their lives parasitizing bees. Rather than laying eggs, H. borealis females release first instar larvae. To release those larvae in an optimal location, H. borealis influences its host bee’s behavior so that it visits a hydrangea flower, curls its abdomen, and presses it against the leaf—making it easier for the parasite to offload the larvae. Shown here is a closeup of H. borealis emerging from their mother, attached between the abdominal segments of a host bee. (Photo originally published in Nakase and Kato 2021, Journal of Insect Science)

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