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

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The family is restricted to the Australian and New Zealand areas with a total of 4 species in 2 genera. Philanisus plebeius , the only Australian species, also occurs in New Zealand (Riek 1977).


Adults are rather slender, medium sized with pale yellowish grey mottled wings, wing span 15-22 mm. Ocelli absent. Maxillary palps 5-segmented in both sexes, in males segment 2 is long, segment 3 arises before apex of 2. Antennae stout, basal segment shorter than head. Mesoscutum mostly with fine setiferous punctures, arranged in 2 irregular bands; scutellum rounded anteriorly, with pair of indistinctly fused setal warts. Wing coupling by enlarged, curved macrotrichia on fore margin of hind wing; fore wing with reduced jugal lobe. Mid tibia distinctly longer than femur. Female abdomen terminates in long ovipositor. Tibial spurs 2:2:4.
Larvae are portable tube-case makers; head broadly ovoid, labrum with numerous secondary setae; mesonotum with pair of weakly sclerotised plates; metanotum with 3 pairs of weak sclerites, covered with numerous setae; distinct patch of setae present on metasternum and also on S1. Abdomen with branched gills, without lateral fringe, segment 8 with lateral row or irregular band of fine spicules. The larvae inhabit intertidal rock pools, feeding mainly on calcareous marine algae. The adults fly at dusk along open ocean shores low to the ground between waterline and shore vegetation; they shelter behind rocks.

  • Philanisus plebeius larvae in case