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

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The family is known from all faunal regions, with 25 genera and approximately 300 species; in Australia 6 genera with 12 species are recorded.


Adults small to medium size, rather stockily built; wing span 8-25 mm; usually dark brown, mottled with whitish to cream or golden spots. Ocelli absent. Maxillary palps 5-segmented in both sexes, 1st and 2nd segments short, each shorter than 3rd; 3rd arises before apex of 2nd, apical segment long, annulated, flexible. Antennae stout, about as long or slightly shorter than fore wing, individual segments short. Mesoscutum with pair of rounded setal warts, and sometimes setiferous punctures; scutellum with single rounded mesal wart. Fore wings moderately broad, densely pubescent, discoidal and median cells closed; R 1 not forked apically. S5 with lateral filaments. Tibial spurs 3:4:4; in females mid tibia usually flattened.
Of several subfamilies recognised by some authors (Malicky 1973; Wiggins 1977) only Polycentropodinae and Hyalopsychinae are known from Australia. Adult Hyalopsychinae (Schmid 1980 considers it a family) are characterised by large eyes, particularly in males, smaller in females; maxillary palps reduced, apical segment short, not annulate; labial palps absent. Larvae of Hyalopsychinae are unknown. In Australia only one species is recorded, from North Qld (Neboiss 1980).
Larvae with only pronotum sclerotised; meso- and metanota membranous or at most each with partially sclerotised plate, fore trochantin acute; abdominal segments without gills, but anal papillae present in some groups; lateral fringe present; anal prolegs very long, diverging, claws often with slender accessory hooks and acute tooth-like points on their concave edge. Larvae occur in diverse lotic and lentic habitats and construct a variety of silken capture nets or tubular retreats with flared opening. Feeding habits variable: even within one genus there may be filter feeders, shredders or predators.