Subject: Beautiful looking antler(ed) bee
Location: Milton, Ontario
September 1, 2013 6:35 pm
I’m starting to take macro shots of insects, I found this ’bee’ on a trip to an apple orchard, the little guy was holding a weird looking leave of one of the apple trees. I was able to take a couple of nice pictures of it, profile and front. I haven’t seen anything like this before. I was wondering if you could help me identify it
We are very excited with your submission, which we believe creates a new genus on our site. Though your insect resembles a bee, the antennae are very characteristic of certain beetles, especially Scarabs. We did some research and quickly found a family on BugGuide known as the Wedge Shaped Beetles, Ripiphoridae, which is described as: “Small to medium-sized beetles, sometimes found on flowers. Many have fan-like (flabellate) antennae, esp. males. Abdomen blunt. Tarsal formula 5-5-4.” Within that family is a genus Ripiphorus which is described on BugGuide as: “Body appears wasp-like…with very short elytra (looking like large tegula) and long, exposed wings…but with very un-wasp-like antennae. Male antennae are biflabellate, i.e. with two rami (= side-branches) at each joint, and the rami usually of roughly equal size at each joint of the relatively short main axis of the antennae.” BugGuide also notes: “Females lay eggs on flowers (often on buds). Eggs hatch into active first stadium larvae (triungulins) which hitch a ride on bees to their nests. Once there they feed on the brood: first as internal parasites, and later in their development as external parasites…a habit otherwise almost unknown in Coleoptera(3) Adults are very short-lived: in many species the males live no longer than a day; females may be similarly short-lived but tend emerge over a longer period” and “Females are more commonly seen than males because they visit flowers to deposit eggs; and males are shorter lived. The genus badly needs revision; only a fraction of spp. can be confidently identified.” We will contact Eric Eaton to see if he can add any information.
Not only do I agree with the identification, but I learned a few things about these beetles I did not know before myself! Like, how short-lived they are. I think the information you provide through the Bugguide page is more than thorough. Nice work.
Thank you for your help, and running your magnificent web site.
I had no idea the beetle was rare, I only thought it was unusual. I was very lucky to have found it =). I left it unharmed and moved on.
I have higher resolution versions of the pictures: