Not What It Seems (Beetle, Ripiphorus sp.)

an all black, wasp-like beetle hangs from a bulbous downward facing plant structure

A Ripiphorus sp. beetle clutches onto a plant bud. (Black and white version.)

Funny how we try to place things even when they don’t fit into any of our preconceived notions. The first time I tried to identify this insect, I couldn’t find any leads, but I thought it must be a wasp of some sort. The Constanza of wasps to be sure. Or, since it didn’t have a “waist” to speak of, maybe a sawfly? Had to be in the Hymenoptera, though. Now I can’t imagine how I could have thought so, but part of it was the odd features, such as the short, needle-like ovipositor (not really visible in this photo). The “naked” wings certainly steered me away from “beetles” as an ID; but naturally the elytra (the hard wing covers of a beetle) are characteristically reduced in this genus. Fortunately I had a commenter correct my mistake. The things you learn. (Color version after the break.)

an all black, wasp-like beetle hangs from a bulbous downward facing plant structure

A Ripiphorus sp. beetle clutches onto a plant bud.

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4 thoughts on “Not What It Seems (Beetle, Ripiphorus sp.)

    1. Thanks! It’s that little head, I think. I should’ve known there’s no such thing as a “fat wasp”…although now I actually want to see one. (And there probably is one, actually.)

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