Horror Story

06 Aug

triungulan“There is a horror show starting in the sunlight of my front yard. It has all the makings of a good scary movie, blood, guts, a hijacking, kidnapping, body morphing, things bursting out from the inside all taking place a dark dirty cell under the ground. It starts with a lovely stand of Daisy Fleabane flowers. Very pretty. But if you look close, a story is unfolding unlike any horror movie you have ever seen.

Triungulins are the villains, they are not aliens from outer space or mutants from some mad science project gone wrong, they are products of millions of years of evolution. And they are only babies, tiny, almost invisible to the human eye (to be anthropomorphic they are evil, blood sucking, viscous babies) born with six strong legs and grasping mouth parts. They roam over the center of the flowers–waiting. Waiting for their prey. They are not hunters, they are waiters. As Halictid wasps, AKA sweat bees, stop by to drink up some nectar, these babies grab hold of their body hairs, mouth parts, what ever is closest in reach, and they don’t let go.

But surprisingly, the bee is not the victim, it is just a form of transportation. The well fed bee goes back to her underground nest, where one of her larva becomes the victim. The triungulan wiggles its way between the abdominal sections of the grub. There it says for a long while sucking the hemolymph, bug blood, from its victim. In time a weird creature, not something you would want to see up close and personal in the middle of the night, emerges, it is the adult rhipiphoridae beetle.

Adult rhipiphoridae beetle

Adult rhipiphoridae beetle

Rhipiphoridae laying eggs in Daisy Fleabane flower bud

Rhipiphoridae laying eggs in Daisy Fleabane flower bud

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Posted by on August 6, 2015 in backyard science, insects, Nature Curios


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