10 spp. in 4 genera north of Mexico; ca. 170 spp. in 16 genera worldwide (5 genera precinctive to Australia; 6, to Central & South America; 1 to South Africa; the vast majority of the global species are in the genus Bittacus
Resemble large crane flies (Diptera: Tipulidae), but have four wings (not two) and no halteres
. Hang by front and middle legs from low plants, and use hind legs to capture passing prey. Tarsi
have only one claw. Like Scorpionflies, have a prominent "beak" but wings are unspotted, at least in NA species.
Bittacus (widespread) rest with wings folded
Hylobittacus apicalis (e. US) is diurnal, rests with wings outspread, and has black wingtips
Orobittacus obscurus (CA only) is nocturnal and rests with wings folded
Apterobittacus apterus (CA, ?CO) is wingless
Typically woodlands near streams; adults often attracted to lights.
May-September or October (Bittacus in NC)
Predatory on small insects, especially Diptera. Capture prey with hind legs while hanging by front legs from perch.
Males offer nuptial gifts of prey to females. They mate while hanging from a perch.(2)
Eggs are rectangular, with a depression on each side. They are laid on marshy ground during summer, and hatch the next spring. Larvae resemble caterpillars and are unique among the larvae of holometabolous
insects in that they have ocelli