Phylogeny and Classification

Neuroptera, like members of the previous two orders, probably had their origin in the Upper Carboniferous period, though the earliest fossils are from the Lower Permian. Representatives of the modern family Osmylidae first appeared in the Triassic, with those of other groups occurring in the Jurassic and Cretaceous. According to Aspock et al. (2001), the Neuroptera are the sister group to the Megaloptera. There is still debate on some of the major subdivisions of extant Neuroptera, with respect to the families they contain and their relationships to each other. Compare, for example New's (1991) arrangement, followed here, with that proposed by Aspock et al. (2001) and Aspock (2002).

Superfamily Ithonoidea

The ITHONIDAE, which constitutes the only family in this group, contains some 15 species of mothlike insects, all but one of which are endemic to Australia. They are among the most primitive Neuroptera, and their similarities with Sialidae (Megaloptera) suggest that they left the main neuropteran stem at an early time. Some authors align the group with the Osmyloidea.

Superfamily Coniopterygoidea

The 300 or so species in this rather homogeneous group of very small Neuroptera are placed in a single family CONIOPTERYGIDAE. Their wings are covered with a white powdery exudate so that they resemble whitefly and are known as "dusty wings." Like the ithonids, they appear to be an isolated and ancient family. Coniopterygid larvae are often associated with particular types of vegetation, suggesting that they may be quite prey-specific, and they search actively for food, two features that have stimulated interest in using them as biological control agents.

Superfamily Osmyloidea

This is likely a polyphyletic group as presently constituted. About one half of its 240 species are in the family OSMYLIDAE, a largely Southern Hemisphere group. Osmylids are often found near water, their semiaquatic or aquatic larvae preying on small arthropods. SISYRIDAE (50 species) are commonly known as "spongeflies" or "spongillaflies" because their larvae are obligate predators on freshwater sponges. This worldwide family has been placed in the Mantispoidea or Hemerobioidea by some authors. DILARIDAE (40 species) form a small but widely distributed family whose biology remains largely unknown. Larvae, which are reputed to undergo up to 12 molts, live beneath the bark of recently dead trees. Members of the very small family NEVRORTHIDAE (NEURORTHIDAE) have a very disjunct distribution, being found in the western Palearctic, Asia, and Australia. Nevrorthids were previously included in the Sisyridae, mainly on the basis of the similar biology of the aquatic larvae. Aspock etal. 's (2001) study indicates, however, that the similarities between the two groups are due to convergence. These authors argue that larvae of Nevrorthidae are primitively aquatic (and the family is the sister group to all other Neuroptera), whereas larvae of the Sisyridae are secondarily aquatic, the family having evolved from terrestrial ancestors.

Superfamily Mantispoidea

The two worldwide families, MANTISPIDAE (400 species) and BEROTHIDAE (70 species), that constitute this group are sometimes placed in the Osmyloidea. Adult man-tispids and some berothids are characterized by their raptorial forelegs (Figure 10.3). Many larval mantispids, as noted above, are heteromorphic and feed on spiders' eggs or larvae of social Hymenoptera.

Superfamily Hemerobioidea

The great majority of species in this group are included in two families, the HEMER-OBIIDAE (brown lacewings) (500 species) and CHRYSOPIDAE (green lacewings) (1950 species). Hemerobiidae have a worldwide distribution but are especially common in temperate regions. They are generally nocturnal and arboreal, often being associated with specific types of trees, where they are important predators on other small arthropods, especially homopterans. Several species have been studied for their potential as biological control agents. Among their attributes are high fecundity, short development time (up to five generations in a season), and low developmental temperature thresholds, the latter allowing them to serve as early season predators when, for example, Coccinellidae (ladybird beetles) and

Beekeeping for Beginners

Beekeeping for Beginners

The information in this book is useful to anyone wanting to start beekeeping as a hobby or a business. It was written for beginners. Those who have never looked into beekeeping, may not understand the meaning of the terminology used by people in the industry. We have tried to overcome the problem by giving explanations. We want you to be able to use this book as a guide in to beekeeping.

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