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Wingless Adult Holometabolous Insects

I thought it would be nice to make a little collection of all the types of insects with wingless adults. I'm ignoring the groups that don't have complete metamorphosis. Feel free to let me know what I missed! (Note: some of these are not completely wingless (apterous), but brachypterous--they have very reduced, non-functioning wings.)

For information about larviform adult beetles, see Web Animated Tutorial on Larviforms and their impact on Coleopterology, put together by J. M. Cicero.

Dermestidae - Thylodrias contractus (Odd Beetle)

Melyridae (Soft-winged Flower Beetles) - Endeodes

Dascillidae (Soft-bodied Plant Beetles) - Anorus females are wingless and larviform.

Elateridae (Click Beetles) - Euthysanius

Lampyridae (Fireflies) - many species have brachypterous females; Microphotus females are larviform.

Phengodidae (Glowworm Beetles) - all adult females are larviform.

Leiodidae: Platypsyllus castoris (Beaver Parasite Beetle)

Meloidae (Blister Beetles) - many species have short wings.

Staphylinidae (Rove Beetles) - most species are brachypterous; see the bottom of the Staphylinidae page for other examples of brachypterous beetles.


Ceraphronidae: Ceraphron

Megaspilidae: Lagynodes and undetermined

Encyrtidae: Mira mucora

Eulophidae: Aprostocetus

Eupelmidae: Eupelmus dryohizoxeni and E. vesicularis

Pteromalidae: Notanisus

Trichogrammatidae: Trichogramma

Other wingless chalcidoids, not yet represented on BugGuide, include certain Agaonidae (males), Aphelinidae, Encyrtidae, Eurytomidae, Mymaridae, Signiphoridae, and Torymidae.

Cynipidae (Gall Wasps)

Diapriidae: Platymischus

Ichneumonidae: Cryptinae: Agrothereutes abbreviatus

Ichneumonidae: Cryptinae: Aptesis nigrocincta

Ichneumonidae: Phygadeuontinae: Phygadeuontini: Gelina: Gelis

Ichneumonidae: Phygadeuontinae: Phygadeuontini: Hemitelina: Polyaulon canadensis

Braconidae: possibly an undescribed genus of Doryctinae

Braconidae: Doryctinae: Heterospilus

Platygastridae: Scelioninae: Baeus

Platygastridae: Scelioninae: Idris

Platygastridae: Teleasinae: Trimorus

Bethylidae: Dissomphalus




Formicidae (Ants)

Mutillidae (Velvet Ants)


Rhopalosomatidae: Olixon banksii

Tiphiidae: Brachycistidinae


Philopotamidae (Fingernet Caddisflies): Dolophilodes distinctus



Alsophilinae: Alsophila pometaria (Fall Cankerworm)

Ennominae: Erannis tiliaria (Linden Looper)

Ennominae: Paleacrita vernata (Spring Cankerworm)

Ennominae: Phigalia plumogeraria (Walnut Spanworm) and P. titea (Half-wing)

Larentiinae: Operophtera bruceata (Bruce Spanworm) and O. brumata (Winter Moth)

Erebidae: Lymantriinae: Orgyia (Tussock Moths)

Crambidae: Adult female water veneers (Acentria ephemerella) (1) are wingless

Psychidae (Bagworm Moths) - all females are wingless, but I think Dahlica triquetrella is the only one that leaves her bag.


Bittacidae: Apterobittacus apterus (Wingless Hangingfly)

Boreidae (Snow Scorpionflies)


Bibionomorpha (Fungus Gnats)

Cecidomyiidae (Gall Midges)

Limoniidae: Chionea (Winter Crane Flies)

Tipulidae: Tipula? (Crane Flies)

Braulidae: Braula coeca (Bee Louse)

Chloropidae (Frit Flies)
Conioscinella zetterstedti

Lasiosina canadensis

Hippoboscidae (Louse Flies): Lipoptena

Nycteribiidae (bat parasites): Basilia boardmani

Phoridae (Scuttle Flies)



Sphaeroceridae: Aptilotus (Lesser Dung Flies)

STREPSIPTERA (Twisted-winged Parasites)
All female strepsipterans are wingless.


Another Braconidae
Rhaconotus (Rhaconotus) formicoides

Ichneumonidae updates
The Gelis and above image formerly filed under Cryptinae are now Phygadeuontinae.

Additions include (1) Phygadeuontinae: Polyaulon from older records and (2) Cryptinae: Aptesis nigrocincta, which is brachypterous.

(1)       (2)

Brachypterous encyrtid
Still need an apterous one

Beaver parasite beetle (Platypsyllus castoris)
The beaver parasite beetle would seem to fit this page. I recently read about it in Miriam Rothschild’s fleas, flukes, and cuckoos.

Added, thanks!
I knew about these but didn't know (or forgot) that they're wingless.



Probably a Tipula as stated in description.

the boreid image...
has disappeared



How about Endeodes collaris?

another Endeodes is there
i think just the genus should be listed: they all have this condition

Good to know
Added & subtracted accordingly

How about this?

I've seen the larval nets, but had no idea they had wingless adults.

This might qualify

more than so!! great addition
i completely forgot about that cutie. they used to live in my insect cabinets, but have never been too devastating --unlike the bloody Attagenus smirnovi

A few more aculeate wasp families to add:
Bradynobaenidae (females)
Embolemidae (females)
Myrmosidae (females)
Tiphiidae: Brachycistidinae (females)

I found images for all of those... if anybody knows of images for the groups not pictured above, please let me know.

A question
Are information provided in this article specific to the Nearctic region or does it cover other regions like Hawaii?

My idea...
was to just include taxa that are found in the area covered by BugGuide. The list of chalcidoid families (provided by Bob Carlson, citing an anonymous chalcid specialist) may or may not fit this criterion.

Thank you for the information.

add 'holometabolous' to the title to avoid confusion?
(all Strepsipteran females)
--weirdest case, not sure it qualifies


not sure about these:

will try to get a placeholder image of a fem. Anorus

A possibility
This one was wingless, but no one ever said whether that was by accident or by heredity:

If this robber fly is wingles
If this robber fly is wingless, then it is a damaged specimens, all the robber flies have wings...

Olixon banksii
Charley: Happy Spring from Baltimore City, Maryland! How about this one?


Never heard of that one--thanks!

O. brumata

Good idea. I'll have to remember to check here first the next time I find one of these wingless bugs. Here is one that's flightless... but not really wingless

Do the Lymantriidae females have wings, just too small for use? Or do they lack wings altogether.

Judging by the image I included above...
I guess they do have little vestigial wings. Still worth including here, I think. Beatriz has some good suggestions below, and I'll get to adding those eventually...

Moths, etc.
also 1, 2, 3, 4. I suspect that there are a few more. A fly

Dermaptera, Embioptera, Grylloblattodea, etc
Euborellia annulipes is one of many earwig species with wingless adults.
Webspinner females.
Many walkingsticks
Many Zoraptera
All of the Rock Crawlers
There are many flightless glowworms, in both Phengodidae and Lampyridae
The Oriental Cockroach, among others
Female Strepsiptera
Aphids, scale insects, and many other Sternorrhyncha.
Jerusalem Crickets (Stenopelmatidae)

I left most of these off intentionally, since they don't have complete metamorphosis... same goes for silverfish and bristletails. It may seem like an arbitrary decision, but somehow wingless adults of taxa with partial/gradual/incomplete metamorphosis don't seem as strange to me. I'll get around to adding the others sooner or later.

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