Common Name: Snakeflies
Greek Origins of Name: Rhaphidioptera is derived from the Greek “raphis” for needle and “pteron” for wing. Loosely interpreted as “flying needles” the name refers to females of some species that have long, slender ovipositors.
Holometabola i.e. complete metamorphosis (egg, larva, pupa, adult)
Raphidoptera has one extant suborder (Raphidiomorpha). There are 2 families and about 260 species worldwide.
Common worldwide, but not present in eastern North America.
Snakefly larvae live in leaf litter or under bark and catch aphids or other soft-bodied prey. In most cases, the adults of these insects are also predators — the non-predatory species usually feed on nectar, pollen, or honeydew.
As adults, raphidiopterans have two pairs of membranous wings with an extensive pattern of veins and crossveins. At rest, the wings are folded flat over the abdomen or held tent-like over the body. Most species are rather weak fliers.
There are two extant families in Raphidioptera: