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Genus Bittacus

Hangingfly - Bittacus pilicornis - female Hangingfly - Bittacus Hangingfly IMG_0136 - Bittacus - male Bittacus sp - Bittacus - male Bittacus Tipula ? - Bittacus - male Bittacus Bittacus sp? - Bittacus
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Mecoptera (Scorpionflies, Hangingflies, and Allies)
Family Bittacidae (Hangingflies)
Genus Bittacus
Explanation of Names
Bittacus Latreille 1805
Greek bittakos (βιττακος), later psittakos 'parrot' -- apparently for the long "beak"
Numbers
By far the largest genus of the family, with 8 spp. in our area and >120 worldwide (~50 in Africa, ~40 in Asia, 25 in C. & S. America, 2 in Europe, and 1 in Australia)(1)
Size
12-15 mm
Identification
Keys to spp. in(2)(3)
Range
Worldwide; in NA, more diverse in the east, with just one Pacific species (B. chlorostigma: OR-CA) and one restricted to KS-TX-NM (B. texanus); 5 spp. are widely distributed over e. US, B. occidentis west to AZ; B. strigosus northwest to MT; the rest reach areas west of the Mississippi to NE-TX), with three ranging into Canada (two along the se. border and one west to MB)(4)(2)
Habitat
Woodlands
Season
May-Oct in NC(5)
Food
Predatory on smaller insects, esp. dipterans.
Life Cycle
Eggs often laid on clumps of moss. Larvae resemble caterpillars, hunt for prey (and consume decaying matter?) there.
Works Cited
1.Scorpionflies, hangingflies, and other Mecoptera
Byers G.W. 2002. The Kansas School Naturalist 48(1).
2.The Mecoptera, or scorpionflies, of Illinois
Webb D.W., Penny N.D., Marlin J.C. 1975. Illinois Natural History Survey Bull. 31: 251–316.
3.Mecoptera of Ontario
Cheung D.K.B., Marshall S.A., Webb D.W. 2006. Canadian Journal of Arthropod Identification No. 1, 28.
4.World checklist of extant Mecoptera species
5.Insects of North Carolina
C.S. Brimley. 1938. North Carolina Department of Agriculture.