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Genus Bittacus

Hangingfly - Bittacus pilicornis Crane Fly - Bittacus strigosus - male Hangingfly - Bittacus - female CA Hanging Fly 1 - Bittacus chlorostigma - female Hanging fly - Bittacus - male hangingfly - Bittacus - male Hangingfly - Bittacus Bittacus
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"
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)
12-15 mm
Keys to spp. in(2)(3)
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)
May-Oct in NC(5)
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.