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Family Ascalaphidae - Owl-flies

This page contains pictures and information about Owl-flies that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.
Adults in this family are from medium to large size. They have the very long and clubbed antenna. When rest, their abdomen is extended above the stem that they are sitting on while their wings hanging downwards.  Adults are predator, hunting insects in flight. Usually they are active during the day.
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Owl-fly lays eggs on grass seed stem.                    Larvae
Their eggs are hard and oval, laid in masses around twigs or grass-stalk, number in about 50 to 100. 
The larvae in this family hunt prey with their large jaw on ground and low vegetations. 
Owlfly 1
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Suhpalacsa sp., body length 45mm, Alexandra Hill 
We sometimes see this Owlfly in Alexandra Hill and Karawatha Forest in mid summer. It rested on plant about a meter from ground. When distributed, it slowly fly away to another plant near by. The Owlfly has the long and clubbed antenna, otherwise it looks like a dragonfly.
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Pictures taken in Karawatha Forest, early summer 
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Alexandra Hill, mid-summer 
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Mt Cotton, mid-summer 
Owlfly 2
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Suhpalacsa sp., body length 45mm
This Owlfly was found late afternoon in Karawatha Park during early summer. It look similar to the above species with slender abdomen. It flied away only when we came too closely. It flied much faster than the other lacewings species.
Owlfly Eggs and Larvae
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Suhpalacsa sp., eggs, 2mm x 3mm
In mid-summer we found a cluster of eggs on grass seed stem. There were more than 30 eggs encircling the stem. We took them home and waited to see what would come out. 
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Suhpalacsa sp., larvae body length 4mm
A few days later, an Owlfly larva came out from each eggs. They stayed together on the empty egg shells motionless for one or two days. Then that started to move around. We put them back to where we found them. The Owlfly larvae are predators live in plant litter or on trees.
Reference and Link:
1. Insects of Australia, CSIRO, Division of Entomology, Melbourne University Press, 2nd Edition 1991, pp 541.
2. Insects of Australia and New Zealand - R. J. Tillyard, Angus & Robertson, Ltd, Sydney, 1926, p324. 
3. Wildlife of greater Brisbane - Queensland Museum, p99.

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Last updated: December 30, 2005.