Fishflies Snakeflies Lacewings and Antlions Order Neuroptera

Identification: Four membranous wings: FW and HW about same size or HW a little wider at base; wings usually held rooflike over body at rest; wings generally with many veins, including numerous cross veins in costal area. Antennae long, many-segmented, threadlike, pectinate, or clubbed. Tarsi 5-segmented. Cerci absent. Mouth parts chewing. Metamorphosis complete. Similar orders: (1) Odonata (p. 68): wings at rest held outstretched or together above body; tarsi 3-segmented; antennae short and bristlelike; wing venation different; harder-bodied. (2) Plecoptera (p. 92): tarsi 3-segmented; cerci present. (3) Mecoptera (p. 208): long-faced; few costal cross veins.

Immature stages: Larvae are campodeiform, and usually have large mandibles; majority terrestrial but a few aquatic. Larvae of most groups are predaceous. Pupation usually occurs in a silken cocoon; silk is spun from the anus.

Habits: Most Neuroptera are relatively poor fliers, and most are predaceous. Many are attracted to lights at night. Importance: Some species, especially lacewings, are important predators, of value in keeping such pests as aphids under control. Larvae of the aquatic forms are an important item in the food of many freshwater fish, and some (like hellgrammites) are frequently used as fish bait.

Classification: Three suborders, Megaloptera, Raphidiodea, and Planipennia. Families of Planipennia are arranged in 3 super-families. Families are separated chiefly by wing and antennal characters.

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