(Greek, strepsis = twisting; pteron = wing)
Common Name: stylops
Distribution: Cosmopolitan

Twisted-winged parasites or Strepsiptera usually have active first stage larvae that attach to adult hosts (usually bees or wasps in North American species), ride back to the hostís nest and burrow into the hostís larva where they develop as legless internal parasites, staying inside their hosts at least until adulthood. The strange twisted-winged adults which give rise to the common name of the family are all males, as females are wingless and legless and never leave the host (there are a few non-parasitic species in which the females have legs). Male strepsipterans have big eyes, antler-like antennae, large, twisted hind wings, and tiny front wings which look and function like the halters of flies. Twisted-winged parasites are widespread, but you are not too likely to see any winged males unless you rear them from their distinctively distorted parasitised hosts, as they live just long enough to find a host parasitised by a female. This photo shows a paper wasp with strepsipteran pupae sticking out between the abdominal tergites.

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