Dobsonflies, Fishflies, and Alderflies (Megaloptera)

Greek "megas" (large) + "ptera" (wings)
The Megaloptera insects are related to the Neuroptera (lacewings) and are sometimes included in that order. Megaloptera larvae live in water and adults are often found near water. They lay masses of eggs near the water, and the larvae fall or crawl into the water shortly after hatching. Fishflies and dobsonflies are nocturnal, while alderflies are active during the day. Some species of dobsonfly are very large, some have enlarged mandibles that curve and cross, as in the drawing above. Megaloptera have long filiment-like antennae. The larvae eat aquatic organisms and are themselves food for fish. The adults live only a few days and rarely eat.


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Dobsonfly
H. Vannoy Davis © 2005 California Academy of Sciences
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Dobsonfly
H. Vannoy Davis © 2005 California Academy of Sciences
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California Fishfly
T. W. Davies © 1999 California Academy of Sciences


Quick ID

  • Long thread-like antennae
  • May have enlarged, crossed mandibles
  • Long, slender membranous wings

More information about Megaloptera

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Last updated: Jan 3, 2017