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

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This geographically restricted family is regarded as the most primitive group of Myrmeleontoidea.


Most species are large (fore wing length 17-43 mm) and the 7 genera (New 1981) are divided into 2 groups on wing shape and the presence or absence of tibial spurs. Myiodactylus and Osmylops represent a possibly more primitive kind of broad-winged nymphid producing single stalked eggs which yield flattened discoidal arboreal larvae. The putatively more advanced forms are typified by Nymphes , have narrower wings, and generally look like myrmeleontids with thin antennae. Nymphes myrmeleonides , the largest and one of the most common species in the family, lays eggs in characteristic U-shaped groups of 30-40 alternating in two directions so that some eggs are directly attached to the substrate by short stalks and others 'bridge' between these. The larvae  are litter dwellers and become covered with debris entangled in the long, coiled, dorsal, filamentous hairs. All Recent nymphid larvae have a single tooth on the mandible. Fully grown larvae of Nymphes are said to pupate in a cocoon in sand or soil. Those of Osmylops do so in cocoons on vegetation or bark. The few species for which data are available seem to be univoltine.


Most species occur in eastern Australia, but there is one western species of Nymphes (New 1981, 1986). They are found in open forest habitats and in damp situations. Six species are known from New Guinea.

  • Nymphidae larvae

  • Nymphidae larvae

  • Nymphes sp.

  • Myiodactylus osmyloides

  • Norfolius howensis

  • Nymphes myrmeleonoides