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Snakefly

Agulla sp.

photo © by Mike Plagens

Observed upon a shrub of Seep Baccharis (Baccharis salicifolia) along Devil's Canyon, Gila Co., Arizona, USA. 04 May 2010.

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These odd-looking insects can be found foraging on plants during spring in Arizona's sycamore woodlands. As adults they feed on some pollen of flowers and also catch small bugs to eat, but are otherwise quite harmless. The long appendage from the abdomen posterior is not a sting. This is a holometabolous insect that must pass through egg, larva and pupa before reaching the full-grown, winged, adult stage. As larvae they live probably beneath leaf litter or under loose bark as predators of other soft-bodied insects. Several species range through much of the United States and Mexico but are most common in the drier portions of the West.

Previously, snakeflies were classified as belonging to the insect order Neuroptera together with lacewings, antlions and dobsonflies. Most authorities now are accepting that they belong in a separate order, the Rhaphidioptera.

Raphidiidae -- Snakefly Family

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Arizona Naturalist
Sycamore Canyons
Invertebrates in Arizona's Sycamore Canyons


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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2010