Male Wedge Shaped Beetle: A new genus on What’s That Bug?!!!

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
Signature: DrZhark

Wedge Shaped Beetle
Wedge Shaped Beetle, genus Ripiphorus

Dear DrZhark,
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.

Wedge Shaped Beetle, genus Ripiphorus
Wedge Shaped Beetle, genus Ripiphorus

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:
Thanks again

Leave a Comment