The Twisted Wing Parasite currently serves as the common name for a unique order of insects composed of nine known extant families with roughly 600 known species.
For both the early stage larvae and the adult males alike, the majority of their lives get spent as endoparasites.
In general shape and appearance, the male Twisted Wing Parasite closely resembles the common housefly. They possess wings, eyes, legs, and antennae. Though the adult males have mouthparts, they remain entirely non-functional.
Once they reach adulthood, the males rarely live for more than a mere five hours, thus they have no need to feed at this point. After the individual reaches adulthood, its only function appears to be to mate before they die.
Twisted Wing Parasite Reproductive Cycle
This distinctive parasite possesses an extremely unappealing sounding, though scientifically interesting, life cycle.
The female lays her eggs within the body of a host, typically a small insect, beginning the cycle. After she hatches, the female Twisted Wing Parasite never develops wings, legs, or even eyes. She remains within the body of her unfortunate host throughout the entirety of her short life.
Adult males do leave the host body for the short duration of what remains of their lives, to find a female. The male then deposits his sperm within the brood canal of a female, which remains protruding from the body of her host. Absolutely incredible.
He then dies shortly after.
The resulting offspring hatch inside their mother and proceed to consume her body from the inside. Imagine that.
The next generation of Twisted Wing Parasite then leaves to seek out hosts of their own. What a true version of a parasite.