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Meet Bizarro, a fly I guess - Ripiphorus rex - female

Meet Bizarro, a fly I guess - Ripiphorus rex - Female
Riley Wilderness Park, Coto de Caza, Orange County, California, USA
June 9, 2007
It looked like a bee when it was attempting to land on this bush sunflower. A very tired bee, apparently with frayed wings. Hah! Not frayed at all, just oddly colored at the tips. And perhaps it borrowed its antennae from a moth or beetle. Once on the flower, it was there for a considerable time, often upside down.

(Written later)
See second post for additional details:

Images of this individual: tag all
Meet Bizarro, a fly I guess - Ripiphorus rex - female Meet Bizarro, a fly I guess - Ripiphorus rex - female Meet Bizarro, a fly I guess - Ripiphorus rex - female Meet Bizarro, a fly I guess - Ripiphorus rex - female Meet Bizarro, a fly I guess - Ripiphorus rex - female Meet Bizarro, a fly I guess - Ripiphorus rex - female Meet Bizarro, a fly I guess - Ripiphorus rex


Ripiphorus rex
You can see what appear to be serrations on the outer edge of the mesotibia in one image. They are darker than the surrounding tibia, as illustrated here, so appear as series of dark spots at low resolution. See my comment under Linsley and MacSwain(1), whose key was used. This implies it is R. rex, which is not in the key, but found in southern Califorinia.

Thanks, Edward.

thanks for catching it -- great job, Edward!
the mesotibial serrations are best visible here:

(on the full-size image)

here we are, Ron -- thanx for bringing this to my attn
i spent some time with this excellent series & the key and wholeheartedly join the colleagues in their consensus opinion. i believe no extra effort could add any substance to the discussion or refine the ID.

Moved from Ripiphorus.

Thanks so much, =v=
This is by far my favorite beetle, and I consider myself quite fortunate to be able to find it twice.

feel free to have a field day with the connotations of the patronymic

You've seen it all!
I was just reading about this fascinating group of beetles and how uncommon and relatively difficult to find they are. Lucky you, for getting the opportunity to photograph them not once, but twice!

Thanks, all
Well, now I know it didn't actually have two wings. Will check to see if I have other images detailing the parts Noah mentioned. Thanks, Joe, for the ID, and Patrick for the details.

Rhipiphorus spp.
Rhipiphorus spp.

Good call!
Excellent--this has to be the most bizarre beetle I've ever seen--the elytra are reduced to those little scale-like things, correct(?), and we are seeing the hind wings, which are membranous of course, but elongated and held along the abodmen like those of a wasp or fly. This looks to be a mimic of hymenoptera--fasicnating!

Seems like somebody should be able to recognize this--the form is so distinctive. Of what we have in the guide so far for this family, Rhipiphorus has those shortened elytra, compare:

Which you probably suspect already, Joe, since you commented there. That poster (Noah) mentions a 1951 paper on the family for California--I'll leave a note.

hard to say
Definitely a Rhipiphorus (I've heard Ripiphorus is the correct/modern spelling?) sp.... nice find! I can't make a call on the species without a better view of the antennae and tarsal claws, but if you'd like to try to key it out, here's the key for the Rhipiphoridae of California:

Having perused the key I came
Having perused the key I came to R. vierecki female. But a couple places in the key where hard to tell from the photos. So I wouldn't go making any pages for this yet.

I think I agree
From the new photos, I think I can make out 11 antennal segments. R. vierecki seems like a likely candidate.

Noah, thanks again with your help. A simple photographer, I'm lousy with keys as I have no entomological vocabulary and iffy eyesight.

Wow! Thanks for the extra effort.
I've added a couple more photos - bottom row here - and do have others if there is some specific area of interest.

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