Sex, Lies, and Grappling Hooks: How Parasitic Beetles Trick Bees
The life cycle of a blister beetle is not only fascinating, it may be shedding new light on how new species form.
Imagine going on a first date with someone whose perfume drives you wild. But when you lean in for that first kiss, you realize your suitor is actually nothing more than a writhing mass of parasitic blister beetle larvae.
This is the plight of the burrowing bee.
You see, sometimes when a male bee is buzzing along the sand dunes, he smells what appears to be a female’s pheromones. Mating is highly competitive in these species, so it pays for the male to buzz in and have a look.
Unfortunately for him, blister beetle larvae have evolved the ability to create chemicals that make them smell like a female burrowing bee. The critters even boost the profile of their scent by