Insects of Britain and Ireland: orders

DELTA home

L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz



Adult insects. Not particularly associated with water. Predatory. Small to medium sized; capable of flight; with two pairs of propellant wings. Head hypognathous. Mouthparts well developed; of the biting type; not piercing; conforming to the generalized biting type. Antennae conspicuous; simple; 15–35 segmented (? - “elongated”). Ocelli 3 (in British representatives). Wings four; of similar texture in both pairs. Fore-wings membranous; with a pterostigma. Hind-wings somewhat smaller than the fore-wings; no broader than the fore-wings. Wings with numerous cross-veins to with few cross-veins; more or less naked. Wings of the resting insect closed and directed backwards; held roof-like over the abdomen. Tarsi 5 segmented. Abdomen conspicuously appendaged at the rear, or not conspicuously appendaged; exhibiting a conspicuous ovipositor (females), or not spectacularly appendaged; lacking clearly visible cerci. Abdomen of females with an exserted ovipositor.

Larvae. Larvae terrestrial; feeding in the open; predatory; with three pairs of segmented thoracic legs; without ventral abdominal prolegs; with paired anal prolegs (represented by suction discs?), or without anal prolegs. The abdominal prolegs if present, without crochets. Larval head with a well sclerotized capsule. Development of larva into adult involving marked metamorphosis; endopterygote; involving a pupal stage.

Pupae. Pupae without a puparium; with articulated mandibles; with free appendages.

Classification. Subclass Pterygota; Division Endopterygota.

British representation. Raphidiidae; genera 1, or 4, or 5 (Raphidia s. lat., the British representatives being now referred to the segregate genera Atlantoraphidia, Phaeostigma, Subilla Linn. and Xanthostigma); 4 species (Atlantoraphidia maculicollis, Phaeostigma notata, Subilla confinis and Xanthostigma xanthostigma. The Fenno-Scandian and central European Raphidia ophiopsis Linn. may yet be found here.).

Special features. With the prothorax remarkably elongated, forming with the narrowed back of the head a greatly elongated ‘neck’.

Illustrations. • Phaeostigma notata (Rhaphidiidae. Spotted Snake-fly, Long-neck: B. Ent. 037). • Phaeostigma notata (detail: B. Ent. 037). • Phaeostigma notata (dissections: B. Ent. 037). • Phaeostigma notata (legend+text: B. Ent. 037). • Phaeostigma notata (text, cont.: B. Ent. 037). • Phaeostigma, cf notata: Stephens VI, 1835.

To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2003 onwards. Insects of Britain and Ireland: orders. Version: 16th May 2016.’.