Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Upcoming Events

Photos of insects and people from the 2022 BugGuide gathering in New Mexico, July 20-24

National Moth Week was July 23-31, 2022! See moth submissions.

Photos of insects and people from the Spring 2021 gathering in Louisiana, April 28-May 2

Photos of insects and people from the 2019 gathering in Louisiana, July 25-27

Photos of insects and people from the 2018 gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Previous events


Subfamily Ascalaphinae - Owlflies

Owlfly - Ascaloptynx appendiculata Huge mayfly, maybe? near creek - Ululodes macleayanus - male Owlfly - Ululodes macleayanus - female Leafhopper Maybe Ululodes? Male? - Ululodes quadripunctatus - male Ululodes quadripunctatus Ululodes mexicanus? - Ululodes quadripunctatus Owlfly first instar larvae?
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Neuroptera (Antlions, Lacewings, and Allies)
Suborder Myrmeleontiformia (Antlions and Allies)
Family Myrmeleontidae (Antlions including Owlflies)
Subfamily Ascalaphinae (Owlflies)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Ascalaphidae Rambur, 1842 - long treated as a separate family and sister to Myrmeleontidae until re-evaluation of higher taxonomic relations by Machado et al. (2018) determined that owlflies are derived from within Myrmeleontidae and are thus, taxonomically, a type of antlion(1)
Explanation of Names
Ascalaphinae Rambur, 1842
Based on genus Ascalaphus (from Greek ascalaphus, supposedly a kind of owl(2); Ascalaphus, a mythological character, was turned into an owl)
8 spp. in 3 genera in our area(3), ~430 spp. in almost 100 genera worldwide. (Photographic record here would indicate a 4th genus occurs in our area.)
* Genus and species not yet in the guide: Ascalobyas albistigma
Bizarre creatures that look like a cross between a dragonfly and a butterfly. The body resembles that of other neuropterans, more-or-less, but the prominent antennae are clubbed like those of butterflies. Key characters:
Medium to large size
Clubbed antennae
Eyes large and bulge out from head
May rest in cryptic posture with abdomen projecting from perch, resembling a twig

Wing venation of Ululodes:

The two widespread North American genera can be easily distinguished based on structure of the eyes, divided in Ululodes (left), undivided in Ascaloptynx (right):

Penny (3) notes another genus, with one North American species (Central America into Texas): Ascalobyas albistigma (Walker).
The sole specimen was taken near Juno, Val Verde County, Texas, in August 1973 (4). As of December 2017, there were no photographic records of this species on BugGuide, but it should be looked for.
Note also a recently identified (2017) record of an apparent Haploglenius species from Arizona.
Worldwide, mostly tropical; in our area, mostly s. US, one sp. ranges into ON(3); local faunas of NC(5), FL(6), KS(7)
Life Cycle
Eggs are laid on twigs:

Larvae predatory, lie on ground covered with debris waiting for prey(8)(9). They resemble antlion larvae but have a finger-like appendage on the side of each segment(9). Different instars:

Some genera actively cement sand and debris onto their bodies as camouflage [see Henry(1977) under "Print References"]. Pupate in a silk cocoon in leaf litter.
Print References
Henry, C.S. (1972) Eggs and rapagula [sic] of Ululodes and Ascaloptynx (Neuroptera: Ascalaphidae): a comparative study. Psyche 79:1-22 (Full Text)
Henry, C.S. (1977) The behavior and life histories of two North American ascalaphids. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Amer. 70: 179-195. (Full Text)
Lago P.K., Testa S. (1989) Records of owlflies (Neuroptera: Ascalaphidae) from Mississippi, with a key to species. Entomological News 100(1): 11-17. (Full text)