Harpobittacus septentrionis, copyright Summerdrought.

Belongs within: Mecopteroidea.

The Bittacidae, hanging-flies, are a group of large, predatory scorpionflies that commonly hunt by hanging from vegetation with their fore legs and grasping prey with the hind legs. Larvae are saprophagous and bear dorsal rows of conspicuous fleshy processes. Bittacids are widespread around the world, being particularly diverse in Australia and South America (Byers 1991).

Characters (from Byers 1991): Single-clawed, raptorial tarsi. Wings elongate, slender basally. Compound eyes large, protruding; ocelli large, on a median prominence; rostrum slender. Basistyles of male bulbous, broadly fused ventrally; dististyles ordinarily small, inconspicuous; T9 divided into two lobes, clasper-like in appearance but not in function. Larvae with two dorsal rows of branched, fleshy processes.

|--Archebittacus exilisN02
|--Tytthobittacus Smithers 1973R74
|--Probittacus avitusRJ93
|--Bittacus Latreille 1802L02
| |--*B. tipularius [=Panorpa tipularia]L02
| |--B. apterusR13
| |--B. eremusL94
| |--B. mastrilliiCM07
| |--B. phryganeariusR26
| |--B. pilicornisKP19
| `--B. strigosusHR11
`--Harpobittacus Gerstaecker 1885L94
|--+--+--H. rubricatus Riek 1954 [=H. tillyardi rubricatus]L94
| | `--H. tillyardi Esben-Petersen 1915 [incl. H. nigratus Navás 1932]L94
| `--+--*H. australis (Klug 1838) (see below for synonymy)L94
| `--+--H. albatus Riek 1954 [=H. tillyardi alatus; incl. H. limnaeus Smithers 1973]L94
| `--H. christine Lambkin 1994L94
`--+--+--H. quasisimilis Lambkin 1994L94
| `--H. similis Esben-Petersen 1935L94
`--+--+--H. nigriceps (Selys-Longchamps 1868) [=Bittacus nigriceps]L94
| `--H. phaeoscius Riek 1954L94
`--+--H. scheibeli Esben-Petersen 1935 [incl. H. brewerae Smithers 1973]L94
`--H. septentrionis Lambkin 1994L94

*Harpobittacus australis (Klug 1838) [=Bittacus australis; incl. B. corethrarius Rambur 1842, B. intermedius Selys-Longchamps 1868, Harpobittacus intermedius, H. australis rubripes Riek 1954]L94

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B91] Byers, G. W. 1991. Mecoptera (scorpion-flies, hanging-flies). In: CSIRO. The Insects of Australia: A textbook for students and research workers 2nd ed. vol. 2 pp. 696–704. Melbourne University Press: Carlton (Victoria).

[CM07] Cokendolpher, J. C., & P. G. Mitov. 2007. Natural enemies. In: Pinto-da-Rocha, R., G. Machado & G. Giribet (eds) Harvestmen: The Biology of Opiliones pp. 339–373. Harvard University Press: Cambridge (Massachusetts).

[HR11] Heraty, J., F. Ronquist, J. M. Carpenter, D. Hawks, S. Schulmeister, A. P. Dowling, D. Murray, J. Munro, W. C. Wheeler, N. Schiff & M. Sharkey. 2011. Evolution of the hymenopteran megaradiation. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 60: 73–88.

[KP19] Kawahara, A. Y., D. Plotkin, M. Espeland, K. Meusemann, E. F. A. Toussaint, A. Donath, F. Gimnich, P. B. Frandsen, A. Zwick, M. dos Reis, J. R. Barber, R. S. Peters, S. Liu, X. Zhou, C. Mayer, L. Podsiadlowski, C. Storer, J. E. Yack, B. Misof & J. W. Breinholt. 2019. Phylogenomics reveals the evolutionary timing and pattern of butterflies and moths. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 116 (45): 22657–22663.

[L94] Lambkin, K. J. 1994. Revision of the Australian scorpion-fly genus Harpobittacus (Mecoptera: Bittacidae). Invertebrate Taxonomy 8: 767–808.

[L02] Latreille, P. A. 1802. Histoire Naturelle, générale et particulière des crustacés et des insectes vol. 3. Familles naturelles des genres. F. Dufart: Paris.

[N02] Novokshonov, V. G. 2002. Order Panorpida Latreille, 1802. The scorpionflies (=Mecaptera Packard, 1886, =Mecoptera Comstock et Comstock, 1895, +Neomecoptera Hinton, 1958, +Paratrichoptera Tillyard, 1919, +Paramecoptera Tillyard, 1919). In: Rasnitsyn, A. P., & D. L. J. Quicke (eds) History of Insects pp. 194–199. Kluwer Academic Publishers: Dordrecht.

[P92] Poinar, G. O., Jr. 1992. Life in Amber. Stanford University Press: Stanford.

[R13] Reuter, O. M. 1913. Lebensgewohnheiten und Instinkte der Insekten bis zum Erwachen der sozialen Instinkte. R. Friedländer & Sohn: Berlin.

[R74] Riek, E. F. 1974. Mecoptera (scorpion-flies). In: CSIRO. The Insects of Australia: A textbook for students and research workers. Supplement 1974 pp. 90. Melbourne University Press.

[R26] Risso, A. 1826. Histoire naturelle des principales productions de l’Europe méridionale et particulièrement de celles des environs de Nice et des Alpes maritimes vol. 5. F.-G. Levrault: Paris.

[RJ93] Ross, A. J., & E. A. Jarzembowski. 1993. Arthropoda (Hexapoda; Insecta). In: Benton, M. J. (ed.) The Fossil Record 2 pp. 363–426. Chapman & Hall: London.

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