The minute, winged males do not live long without intravenous, artificial nutritive intake, but care little, desiring only to mate once with any female of their kind.
Female specimens remain in their parasitic form, exposing only their chitinous, mask-like faces on the body surface of their host. They are capable of briefly taking control of host motor functions, but lack any other notable abilities and are typically little more than an encumberance, forcing hosts to avoid combat and devote most of their time to seeking out males.
BASE ORGANISM: the Strepsiptera or "twisted-winged parasites" are one of the most bizarre and unique of insect groups. Mature females are limbless, eyeless and gutless, almost polyp-like within the bodies of other insects. The tiny males, armed with highly sensitive eyes and antennae, mate with females through their exposed heads, and the leaping, flea-like larvae are eventually deposited through the same facial orifice. Larvae secrete a corrosive enzyme to bore through the exoskeletons of their hosts, and are known to attack a wide variety of insects including wasps, mantids, beetles, roaches, silverfish and flies.
Contents copyright Jonathan Wojcik