small family has not been well studied in Australia and as a result
little is known of their biology and ecology. There are only 6 species
of Rhipiceridae in Australia and all belong to the genus Rhipicera.
Adults range in size from 10 to 25 millimetres in length and can
be recognised by their large fan-like antennae. The antennae of
males are unusual in that they have more than 20 segments and arise
from small knob-like prominences. Most species are grey-black in
colour with white spots on the elytra and pronotum, formed by patches
larvae of Australian species is unknown and in North America Sandalus
niger is the only known rhipicerid larva. This larval species is grub-like
and lightly sclerotised, with conical shaped antennae consisting of just
one segment. The first instar are triungulin-like, meaning they appear
similar to the larvae of blister beetles (Meloidae) which are long-legged
and parasitic. The later instars are ectoparasitic on the nymphs of cicadas.
It is thought the first instars of Sandalus niger attach themselves
to the cicada nymphs before they enter the soil.