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

Interested in a 2022 BugGuide gathering in New Mexico?

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

National Moth Week 2020 photos of insects and people.

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

Discussion, 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

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Previous events


Genus Vella

Giant Ant Lion - Vella fallax Vella americana Moth?  - Vella americana Antlion - Vella fallax Huge antlion - Vella americana Vella fallax? - Vella fallax Vella fallax? - Vella fallax Unknown Fishfly - Vella fallax
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 Myrmeleontinae (Giant, Long-tailed, and Pit-trapping Antlions)
Tribe Acanthaclisini (Giant Antlions)
Genus Vella
Explanation of Names
Vella Navás 1913
From Latin vellus 'wool, fleece'(1)
3 spp. in our area(2)
1. Vella americana: eastern US (FL, GA, NC, NJ, NY, SC, VA); Dr. Oswald notes additional presence in TX(3)
2. Vella eggerti: FL (Keys; also known from the Bahamas and Caribbean)
3. Vella fallax texana: western US (AZ, CA, NM, TX, UT)
very large--wingspan of adults 100-120 mm or more, body length 40-70 mm (Banks 1927, BG data)
Distinctive characters of this genus(2):
curved tibial spurs
wings with at least two series of costal cells

Overview of Species
The diagnosis of species depends on the presence of absence of an anterior Banksian line in the hind wing. This is a line of venation at the wingtip that runs a ways down the length of the wing due to bending of the RS branches (see figure below).

V. americana: anterior Banksian line present and distinct in the hind wing; forewing 52-60 mm; eastern(4)
V. eggerti: Banksian line absent in the hind wing; forewing 50-70 mm; eastern: FL Keys only(5)
V. fallax texana: anterior Banksian line absent in the hind wing; forewing ~48-55 mm; western(4)
2 spp. in e. US + 1 sp. in w. US(2)
Life Cycle
larvae live in deep sand and burrow only backward(2)
Print References
Banks N. (1927) Revision of the Nearctic Myrmeleonidae. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 68: 1-84 (BHL link)
Works Cited
1.Dictionary of Word Roots and Combining Forms
Donald J. Borror. 1960. Mayfield Publishing Company.
2.American Insects: A Handbook of the Insects of America North of Mexico
Ross H. Arnett. 2000. CRC Press.
4.Revision of the Nearctic Myrmeleonidae
Nathan Banks. 1927. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Vol. 68, No. 1: 1-84.
5.Antlions of Hispaniola (Neuroptera: Myrmeleontidae)
R.B. Miller, L.A. Stange. 2011. Insecta Mundi 0182: 1-28.