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

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Eggs are laid in clusters of about 30-60 on (and often encircling) twigs or grass stems; 1st instar larvae aggregate there without feeding for some time before dispersing to live singly in litter or on trees. Larvae are then predators.


Owl-flies are medium to large, fore wing length 15-45 mm; differing from Myrmeleontidae on features of the eyes, antennae, venation and genitalia. Most species have the wings hyaline except for the small, well-defined, dark pterostigma, but the apex of the wings is suffused with brown in the widespread Suhpalacsa dietrichiae and a few others (e.g. Pictacsa , 3 spp.) have marked wings. Males of several genera have a pronounced dorsal prominence on the anterior of the abdomen, and Pilacmonotus (1 sp.) is densely hairy.


Many of the 15 Australian genera (New 1984) are closely related and all belong to the ascalaphine tribe Suhpalacsini which is widespread also in Africa and elsewhere. Most Australian species seem to be endemic, and are found predominantly in drier areas. A few species are widespread. Males of Suhpalacsa (15 spp.) lack an abdominal prominence.

  • Ascalaphidae larvae

  • Ascalaphidae