19 spp. in 7 genera in our area(1)
Large insects with soft bodies and delicate wings. Adults often found near aquatic habitat of the larvae. Key characters:
Wings folded flat over back at rest
Ocelli (simple eyes) present
Fourth segment of tarsi rounded, not flattened, as in Sialidae
Antennae quite variable, may be filiform (thread-like), moniliform (like beads on a string), pectinate (comb-like)
Males of many species have enlarged mandibles, presumably used in competition for mates
Eastern genera: Chauliodes, Corydalus, Neohermes, Nigronia.
Western genera: Neohermes, Dysmicohermes (nw. NA), Orohermes (Pacific coast), and Protochauliodes (w. US; Australia, New Zealand, Chile)
From Penny, Adams, & Stange (1)
"Corydalidae, or dobson-flies and fish-flies, are among our largest neuropteroids. Males of the dobson-fly Corydalis cornutus can have a wing-span of five and one-half inches (14 cm) and bear elongate sickle-shaped mandibles more than one and one-half inches (4 cm) long. The larvae are aquatic predators known as hellgrammites, which feed on aquatic insects, tadpoles, and small fish. Larvae may go through seven or eight instars and take two or three years or longer to reach maturity. Despite their ferocious appearance, adults either do not feed, or feed on small quantities of nectar and fruit juices."
Usinger, Robert L. (Editor). 1956. Aquatic Insects of California
, University of California Press, 508 pp. (2)