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Bird of Paradise Fly (Callipappus rubidginosus)

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Order: Homoptera (ho-MOP-ter-a) (Info)
Family: Callipappidae
Genus: Callipappus
Species: rubidginosus

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By kennedyh
Thumbnail #1 of Bird of Paradise Fly (Callipappus rubidginosus) by kennedyh

By kennedyh

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By kennedyh

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Member Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Neutral kennedyh On Feb 16, 2010, kennedyh from Churchill, Victoria
Australia
(Zone 10a) wrote:

This strange leathery creature had me totally baffled. I couldn't even place it in an order without expert assistance.

It proves to be a cousin of the mealybugs and was originally placed in the family Coccidae (the mealybugs andscale insects). This family was divided and it became a member of the Margarodidae, which was then further divided and it is now in a small family, sharing its name, the Callipappidae.

The male is apparently spectacular, looking fly like, but having long colourful tail streamers (like a bird of paradise). The female is a squat leathery lump. Apparently the larval stages feed underground on the roots of a host plant (possibly a Banksia). The adult female crawls to the surface and climbs any convenient flat surface. The one I found was on a leaf of a Dune Sedge (Lepidospema concavum). She has no mouth parts, so never feeds. She just sits there waiting for a male to find her and then lays her eggs and the larvae when they emerge crawl down into the ground to feed.


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