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Photo#122920
Wedge-shaped beetles, take two. - Ripiphorus vierecki - female

Wedge-shaped beetles, take two. - Ripiphorus vierecki - Female
Riley Wilderness Park, Coto De Caza, Orange County, California, USA
June 16, 2007
This is the second of two posts showing this nifty beetle. The other calls it "Bizarro", which you can find by searching or reviewing other images in this section. Intent here is to show additional detail on ovipositing, antenna and pattern on the back, plus provide some additional information.

This from Hartmut Wisch and lightly edited: "They're phoretic parasitoids, like certain meloid beetles. Females lay eggs into flowers, the hatchlings, called triungulins, then hitch a ride with visiting solitary bees. Carried to the bees' nest, they'll become internal parasites of the host larvae."

A personal observation: Eggs are laid - here on composite - on buds that will soon bloom. Apparently, the idea is to have the young ready to be transported to their new "families" as soon as the flower is ready for the bees' visits.

Images of this individual: tag all
Wedge-shaped beetles, take two. - Ripiphorus vierecki - female Wedge-shaped beetles, take two. - Ripiphorus vierecki - female Wedge-shaped beetles, take two. - Ripiphorus vierecki - female

Beautiful series, Ron!
And good to have images of oviposition for this fascinating and fairly rare creature. That's a very clear shot of the ovipositor!

Also enjoyed your observation about the female ovipositing on flowers in bud, so when the egg hatches the triangulin will not be too late for easily finding visiting bees. (I wonder how long it takes for the eggs to hatch?) I noticed a number of other BG posts show female Ripiphorus on flowers in bud.

Regarding the plant, the flower heads do resemble a composite, but I'm quite sure (from the overall gestalt of the bracts: size, shape, venation, number, etc.) that it's actually a species of Monardella, in the mint family. Easy to mistake for a comp though! I can't tell the species from the images, but from location it might be M. hypoleuca?

I recently posted a series of images of what I think is (the very similar looking) R. rex...it was also a female ovipositing on a flower head of Monardella:

 
Thanks, Aaron.
I'm sure you're right about the plant. I remember where I shot the first beetle, but not this one. I may have just assumed the plants were the same or the same type. (The first was in a butterfly garden, and there were loads of mint nearby.)

Moved
Moved from Ripiphorus.

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