New favorite bug! This is a wasp mantidfly. It uses mimicry to look like a wasp, but in reality is actually harmless to humans. It’s most like a praying mantis in behavior despite the obvious anatomical differences.
basically all the cutest bugs smashed together
It’s also important to talk about the life cycle of these guys
They’re related to lacewings and antlions, but their larvae are brood parasites of spiders, usually wolf spiders.
In its early stages, the mantidfly larva is highly mobile and hunts down a spider to latch onto. It needs a female host, but it may settle for a male and transfer later, when the host mates.
It hangs out and sucks on spider body fluids until its host lays eggs, at which point it crawls right into the spider’s egg case as it’s being formed, and molts into an entirely different, legless larva with a new set of mouthparts.
The mantidfly grub changes from spider-sucking parasite to egg-eater, cracking open every spider egg and slurping out its contents while the mother spider continues to carefully guard the case.
And then a mantis-headed fake wasp comes out!
Found my Spirit Creature.