Field of Science

Name the Bug # 21

Yes, the ID challenge today is an actual insect, for once. And, as a clue to identity, consider first the point that it only has a single pair of wings, rather than the more usual complement of two.

Attribution to follow.

Update: Identity now available here. Figure from MacLachlan (1868).


  1. The wing venation is far too complicated for Diptera.
    Ephemeropterans are supposed to have shorter antennae and at least traces of caudal filaments.
    The tarsi have too many segments for Psocodea.
    I know of no extant Neuroptera with reduced hindwings.

    This is challenging, which probably was the point.

    I will hazard a guess at a fossil Neuropteran with hind wings reduced or absent.

  2. Psychodidae? Sycoracinae?

  3. Can I change that to Phlebotominae?

  4. Or, having read what you wrote again about the wings, I'll go with whatever Gunnar says. I shouldn't stay up this late.

  5. It's not a fossil insect, it's something alive and well in the present day.

  6. It's a Hemerobiidae, one of the flightless ones with highly reduced hind wings. Have no idea beyond that.


  7. I'm taking a tip from Kai: a flightless neuropteran (the antennae being the giveaway) probably Hemerobiidae although there are flightless/brachypterous species in five of the 17 Neuroptera families so not sure of this (way outside my sphere of expertise)? Is it one of the flightless Hawaiian species (Micromus?) or the delightfully named Nusalala?

  8. By the way, are there any flying insects with vestigial forewings, apart from Strepsiptera? If not, why not? And why did Strpsiptera go that way instead of the more conventional hindwing loss?

  9. I'm commenting b/c I'd like to see what your ID ends up being.


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