Bird of Paradise Fly (Callipappus rubidginosus)

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

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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... read more