What Bug Is That? The guide to Australian insect families.

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Australian meloids belong to the subfamilies Horiinae ( Horia mira ) and Zonitinae ( Palaestra , Zonitis ), all of which are parasitoids of bees (HYMN: Apoidea). Eggs are laid on flowers, and the active triungulins attach themselves to bees in order to gain access to the nest. Later instars consume both bee larva and provisions of honey and nectar. The coarctate larva is a resting stage, which gives rise to another grub-like prepupal form. [Kaszab 1969; Kifune 1961.]


Elongate, moderately convex, soft-bodied beetles, often bicoloured with red or yellow and black or blue, but sometimes uniformly red or metallic blue or violet. Body subglabrous or clothed with short, decumbent hairs; head strongly constricted behind eyes to form narrow neck; prothorax usually narrowed anteriorly and lacks lateral carinae; tarsal claws pectinate with a blade-like process beneath each claw.

Larvae are of three types: 1) a minute, fusiform, well sclerotised triungulin with long legs; 2) a grub-like, ectoparasitic larva, lightly sclerotised, with short legs and a hypognathous head; and 3) a coarctate form with reduced mouth-parts and appendages.

  • Palaestra sp.

  • Lytta vesicatoria

  • Zonitis sp.