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

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Medium to large species, with wings broad and sometimes strikingly patterned. Fore wing length 12-30mm. Antennae never more than half length of fore wing, and slightly thickened. Venation with 'vena triplica' (Sc, R and Rs run parallel for a considerable length and are connected by short cross-veins) and generally dense with large numbers of Rs branches. The expanded costal space occurs also in some members of other hemerobioid families.

Adults are cryptic, active mainly at night, and sometimes live for 1-2 months. The eggs (of the few species known) are oval, unbatched and attached to vegetation by the long axis. Larvae occur under thick rough bark of eucalypts, and the instars are of long duration. In the few species studied, the life cycle takes 2 years to complete. The empodium is trumpet shaped in all instars, and segments of the antenna and palp are well defined. Pupation occurs in bark crevices, and the cocoon consists of a loose outer envelope and an inner one of fine silk.


The family has been recorded from the Oriental region but is best represented in South Africa and Australia (New 1989b). Most species in the 2 genera ( Psychopsis , 12 spp.; Megapsychops , 1 sp.) found in Australia appear to be rare. The family is most diverse in eastern Qld and N.S.W., with one species ( Psychopsis mimica ) in Vic. and S.A. and one ( P . maculipennis ) endemic in W.A. The most spectacular species is Megapsychops illidgei (southern Qld) in which the wing markings may resemble a snake head when the insect is at rest.

  • Psychopsis sp. larvae