wedge-shaped beetle

(Ripiphorus spp.)

               
Overview

Ripiphorus is the largest genus of wedge-shaped beetles. There are about 70 species worldwide, about 30 in North America north of Mexico. They occur in the United States, in Mexico, in Ontario, Canada, and in Europe. Larvae are parasites of sweat bees and other bees, and eventually kill their host. Adults live only a few days and are found on flowers and other vegetation. Information about their lives, including dietary preferences, is fragmented. The genus is in need of revision.

wedge-shaped beetle (Ripiphorus sp.)
Identification

Total Length: to 7 16 (4 to 11 mm)

Ripiphorus beetles look more like wasps or flies than beetles.

  Photo by Alfredo Colon
 

The head is vertical and is strongly constricted behind the eyes. The neck is inserted in the first thoracic segment (prothorax). The upper surface (vertex) is distinctly elevated above the front (anterior) margin of the upper thoracic plate (pronotum). The pair of chewing structures of the mouth (mandibles) are prominent and bent inward. There are two small, black, oval, prominent, compound eyes and no simple eyes (ocelli). The eyes are situated on the side of the head leaving a broad upper face (frons). The antennae are inserted above the eyes on each side of the vertex. On the female they have ten or eleven segments and may have projections on one side of each segment (monoflabellate), both sides (biflabellate), or be simply deeply sawtoothed (serrate). On both sexes, there are no projections or teeth on the first two segments.

The pronotum is broad. It does not have a sharp lateral ridge or a distinct suture. It is as wide at the base as the abdomen. The base has a large lobe in the middle that covers the plate over the wing bases (scutellum). The scutellum is exposed when the insect bends down to feed.

The abdomen of the female is deeply curved at the end, so much that the ovipositor is directed forward. The hardened forewings (elytra) are very short, convex, and scale-like. They do not extend beyond the thorax. The hindwings are entirely exposed.

The legs are short. The last part of the leg (tarsus), corresponding to the foot, is black and has five segments. On the hind leg it has only four segments. The first and last tarsal segments on the hind leg are the longest, the third segment is the shortest. There is a pair of toothed claws at the end of each tarsus.

 
Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 24, 29, 30, 82.

 
Comments

No Common Name
This genus has no common name. The common name for the family Ripiphoridae is wedge-shaped beetles, and is applied here for convenience.

 
Taxonomy

Order:

Coleoptera (beetles)

 

Suborder:

Polyphaga (water, rove, scarab, longhorn, leaf and snout beetles)

 

Infraorder:

Cucujiformia

 

Superfamily:

Tenebrionoidea (Fungus, Bark, Darkling and Blister Beetles)

 

Family:

Ripiphoridae (Wedge-shaped Beetles)

 

Subfamily:

Ripiphorinae

 
Subordinate Taxa

 

 
Synonyms

Rhipiphorus (misspelling)

 
Common
Names

no common name

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Elytra

The hardened or leathery forewings on an insect used to protect the fragile hindwings, which are used for flying, in beetles and true bugs. Singular: elytron.

 

Frons

The upper part of an insect’s face, roughly corresponding to the forehead.

 

Ocellus

Simple eye; an eye with a single lens. Plural: ocelli.

 

Pronotum

The saddle-shaped, exoskeletal plate on the upper side of the first segment of the thorax of an insect.

 

Prothorax

The first (forward) segment of the thorax on an insect, bearing the first pair of legs but not wings.

 

Scutellum

The exoskeletal plate covering the rearward (posterior) part of the middle segment of the thorax in some insects. In Coleoptera, Hemiptera, and Homoptera, the dorsal, often triangular plate behind the pronotum and between the bases of the front wings. In Diptera, the exoskeletal plate between the abdomen and the thorax.

 

Vertex

The upper surface of an insect’s head.

 

 

 

 

 

       
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Alfredo Colon
       
  wedge-shaped beetle (Ripiphorus sp.)   wedge-shaped beetle (Ripiphorus sp.)
       
  wedge-shaped beetle (Ripiphorus sp.)   wedge-shaped beetle (Ripiphorus sp.)
       
  wedge-shaped beetle (Ripiphorus sp.)   wedge-shaped beetle (Ripiphorus sp.)
       
  wedge-shaped beetle (Ripiphorus sp.)   wedge-shaped beetle (Ripiphorus sp.)
       
  wedge-shaped beetle (Ripiphorus sp.)   wedge-shaped beetle (Ripiphorus sp.)
       
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  wedge-shaped beetle (Ripiphorus)
Bill Keim
 
  wedge-shaped beetle (Ripiphorus)  

 

slideshow

       
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Alfredo Colon
8/12/2019

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

wedge-shaped beetle (Ripiphorus sp.)


Alfredo Colon
8/9/2019

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

wedge-shaped beetle (Ripiphorus sp.)


Alfredo Colon
8/5/2019

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

wedge-shaped beetle (Ripiphorus sp.)


Alfredo Colon
6/20/2018

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

wedge-shaped beetle (Ripiphorus sp.)


     
 
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Created: 12/13/2018

Last Updated:

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