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Order Embiidina - Webspinners

webspinner - Oligotoma Webspinner sexes compared - Oligotoma nigra - male - female Embioptera male subadult on pomegranate - Oligotoma nigra - male Oligotoma saundersii nymph - Oligotoma saundersii Needzaname - Oligotoma nigra Oligotomidae? 102211Earwig? - Oligotoma saundersii Diradius vandykei
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Embiidina (Webspinners)
Other Common Names
Footspinners
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Embidae Burmeister 1839. As a family of Neuroptera
Embides Rambur 1842. As a family of Neuroptera
Embidina Hagen 1848. As a family of Neuroptera
Embidina, Hagen 1885. As family of Orthoptera
Embiopteres Lameere 1900. In the form of an order
Embiodea Kusnezov 1903. As a suborder of Neuroptera
Embioptera Shipley 1904. Zoologischer Anzeiger 27:260. As an order (in an article proposing a standardization of ordinal names of Insects)
Embiaria Handlirsch 1904
Adenopoda Verhoeff 1904
Oligoneura Börner 1904
Embioidea Handlirsch 1908
Embidaria Handlirsch 1908. As a subclass
Embiidina Krauss 1911. As an order
etc.
Explanation of Names
Greek embios 'lively', a reference to their ability to run rapidly
Numbers
11 spp. in 6 genera of 3 families in our area(1), ~380 spp. in ~100 genera of 13 families worldwide(2)
Size
4-20+ mm (our spp. 4-7 mm)(1)
Identification
slender, usually brownish insects that may have wings (males) or be wingless (some males and all females); body of male flattened; body of female and immature more cylindrical; tarsi 3-segmented; basal segment of front tarsus greatly enlarged for producing silk from hollow hairs issuing on the basal and middle segments; cerci 2-segmented (but left cercus of some males 1-segmented)
Females of Embioptera are notoriously difficult to identify since they lack wings or full development of other normal adult features. They sort of all look pretty similar. (Kelly B. Miller, pers. comm. to MAQ, 2013)
Range
mostly tropical; in our area, so. US
Habitat
silk galleries are spun under stones and bark, in debris, cracks in soil or bark, among grass roots, lichens, mosses, and epiphytic plants
Season
more numerous during the rainy season
Food
dead plant material plus lichens and mosses found around their galleries
Life Cycle
incomplete metamorphosis; one generation per year
Remarks
rapid runners, often run backwards; live in colonies (in galleries of spun silk) and exhibit limited maternal care for eggs and young; winged males of some species come to lights
the latest molecular data places it closest to Notoptera(3)