Originally posted on Why Evolution Is True:

By Matthew Cobb

No Kipling this time, but some science from the 1920s. After the Beetle Handle post went round Twitter, ‘Wikispecies Editor’ @stho002 (aka S. E . Thorpe) who’s based in Auckland NZ, tweeted about this amazing and very tiny parasitoid wasp, Inostemma boscii, which has a stupendous ‘handle’ arching above its thorax. As can be seen in this photo taken by Thorpe and posted on Wikispecies, the structure is so long that the wasp even has a groove in its head to make space for the handle:

File:Inostemma boscii.jpg

A clue as to what on earth this outgrowth might be – sadly, it’s not a handle – is given by the observation that this is a female wasp. The ‘handle’ in fact contains the ovipositor, which is curled up in the handle when it’s not in use.

Here’s a rather nice drawing of an I. boscii wasp in flight, taken…

View original 1,317 more words

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About marksolock

I am a lawyer in Chicago with interests in pop culture and current politics.
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