Owlflies - Ascalaphidae

Owlflies - Ascalaphidae


Owlfly - Ascalaphidae in Sabah, Malaysia

When rest, their abdomen is extended above the stem on while their wings hanging downwards.

This is a Dragonfly-like insects with large bulging eyes and long knobbed antennae.

Owlflies are readily distinguished from dragonflies from their long antennae and hold their wings together while resting.

The closely related antlions, family Myrmeleontidae, have shorter clavate antennae, normal-sized eyes, and a long hypostigmatic cell in the distal portion of the wing.

Owlflies look much like dragonflies. But they have long, knobbed antennae.


Owlflies hang around near water. They lay eggs on stems of aquatic plants. Juveniles live underwater, hunting tadpoles and smaller insects. They crawl up plant stems out of water to pupate, and later emerge from the cocoon as winged adults.

Owlflies are found throughout Sabah. But very little records on owlflies of Malaysia.  It is unknown how many species are in Malaysia.  And their distribution in Malaysia also not well documented.

The Ascalaphidae also are similar to dragonflies. Commonly called owlflies. The female owlfly lays her large eggs on the stalks of plants. These eggs sometimes appear to be buds or fruit growing from the plant.

Exceptionally long, knobbed antennae help to distinguish adult owlflies-which generally fly during the day-from dragonflies and damselflies. When they rest, adult ascalaphids keep their wings securely below the body at the sides. At the same time their long antennae are projected forward, and the abdomen is curved in an upward direction. Members of the family Ascalaphidae are capable of rapid flight.

Adults owlflies have very long and clubbed antenna.

Owflies look a bit like dragonflies, except that their antennae are nearly as long as their bodies. Its antennae are also clubbed.

Owlfly larvae resemble the larvae of ant lions. The larvae hunt prey with their large jaw on ground and low vegetations.

The most obvious physical difference between them is that owl fly larvae are larger.

Owlfy larvae look a lot like antlion larvae

Owlfly larvae do not dig pits. They simply hang around on the ground's surface, often covered with dirt or debris, waiting for their prey to wander along.

Though looks like an ant lion, but they do not dig traps. Rather, they cover themselves with bits of debris and wait for small insects to pass by.

Other Flies in found in Sabah

Sabah has a large variety of insect species.

Butterflies are the most beautiful and conspicuous group that can be seen when strolling along the track in the early morning. Ants are everywhere.

The less conspicuous, less easily seen insects include beetles, moths, stick insects, bugs, grasshoppers, praying mantises and termites.

INDEX : Insects 24-1-2008     September 16, 2008 01:41:57 PM  

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