NRE 516 - Aquatic Entomology

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Lab Notes for Megaloptera (Alderflies, Fishflies and Dobsonflies), Aquatic Neuroptera (Spongillaflies) and Lepidoptera (Aquatic Moths)

Notes on Morphology/Taxonomy

General morphology and taxonomy of the Megaloptera, Neuroptera, and Lepidoptera and well summarized in the required readings in the Merritt and Cummins (1996) text, and the comparisons are rather distinct and obvious.

Note that the pupa is obtect (legs closely appressed to the pupal body) and adecticous (no functional mandibles for cutting through pupal chamber or cocoon) in Lepidoptera. The cremaster, or posterior hook, functions in anchoring the pupa to the cocoon. Pyralid adults emerge underwater, and the pupal exuvium and larval sclerites remain in place beneath the pupal cocoon after adult ecolosion. The larva cuts a semi-circular slit just prior to pupation which allows the adult to escape. In most adectious groups, the adult usually sheds the pupal cuticle and uses the adult mandibles to exit its enclosure. In the closely related Megaloptera and Neuroptera as well in the Trichoptera (the latter closely related to the Lepidoptera), the pupa is exarate (legs are free from the pupal body, as opposed to being cemented) and decticous (mandibles are fully articulated and used for emergence from the pupal enclosure). In the Trichoptera, the pharate adult swims or crawls to the water surface, and thus the pupal exuvium is not found in association with the pupal cell after emergence. Below is a table comparing pupation among the Megaloptera, the aquatic Neuroptera, Trichoptera, and the aquatic/semi-aquatic Lepidoptera.

Trichoptera aquatic; on stones or wood or vegetation sealed larval case or modified retreat exarate; decticous pharate adult emergent plants or stones or on shore; ?water column
Aquatic Lepidoptera often aquatic; on stones or macrophytes or emergent vegetation silken cocoon; within larval case obtect, adecticous adult pupal cell; submerged
Megaloptera terrestrial; below ground or in wood or detritus or beneath stones unlined earthen cell or chamber exarate, decticous pharate adult above ground; on land or ?vegetation
Aquatic Neuroptera terrestrial; above ground on vegetation or stones silken cocoon exarate, decticous pharate adult above ground; on soil or ?vegetation

Recent Synonymies

Pyralidae = Pyralididae = Pyraustidae
Petrophila = Parargyractis

List of Taxa Presented

You must be able to identify in a lab exam the following taxa, larvae to genus, adults to family, either by sight or using a taxonomic resource. Taxa denoted in blue are to be identified by sight, those in black are taxa to be identified using any resource you wish within a set period of time (e.g., 1 minute). (Taxa that are blank will not be presented during an exam).

Order Family Genus Vial Stage Required Identification
Lepidoptera Pyralidae Petrophila 1 L Visual, Key
2 P  
Megaloptera Corydalidae Chauliodes 3 L Key
4 A  
Corydalus 5 L Visual
6 A  
Nigronia 7 L Visual
8 A  
Sialidae Sialis 9 L Visual
Neuroptera Sisyridae Climacia 10 L Key

Additional Recommended Readings

Chandler HP. 1956. Megaloptera, p. 229-233 in Usinger, R. L. (ed.). Aquatic Insects of California. University of California Press: Berkeley, California.
Chandler HP. 1956. Neuroptera, p. 234-236
in Usinger, R. L. (ed.). Aquatic Insects of California. University of California Press: Berkeley, California.
Gurnery, A. B. and S. Parfin. 1959. Neuroptera, pp. 973-980 in Freshwater Biology, 2nd Edition. W. T. Edmondson (ed). John Wiley & Sons: New York, NY.
Lange WH, Jr. 1956. Aquatic Lepidoptera, p. 271-288 in Usinger, R. L. (ed.). Aquatic Insects of California. University of California Press: Berkeley, California.

Note: Megaloptera has been included in Neuroptera by some authors in the recent past.

Additional References

Baker JR, Neunzig HH.1968. The egg masses, eggs, and first instar larvae of eastern North American Corydalidae. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 61:1181-1187.
Canterbury LE, Neff SE. 1980. Eggs of Sialis (Sialidae: Megaloptera) in eastern North America. The Canadian Entomologist 112:409-419.
Contreras-Ramons A. 1998. Systematics of the Dobsonfly genus Corydalus (Megaloptera: Corydalidae). Thomas Say Publications in Entomology:
Monographs, Entomological Society of America, Lanham, Maryland.
Cuyler RD. 1958. The larvae of Chauliodes Latreille (Megaloptera: Corydalidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 51: 582-586.
Dethier M, Haennia JP. 1986. Practical introduction to the systematics of organisms of French continental waters. 7. Planipennia, Megaloptera and Lepidoptera with aquatic larvae. Bull. Mens. Soc. Linn. Lyon 55: 201-224. (French: English summary)
Fischer C, Ohm P. 1985. Lacewings with water-dwelling larvae in Schleswig-Holstein (West Germany) (particularly Megaloptera and Planipennia:Sialidae, Osmylidae, Sisyridae). Faun-Oekologische Mitteilungen 5(13/14): 405-418. (German; English summary)
Flint OS. 1964. New species and new state records of Sialis (Neuroptera:Sialidae). Entomological News 75: 9-13.
Forbes WTM. 1954. Lepidoptera of New York and neighboring states. III. Noctuidae. Memoirs of the Cornell University Agricultural Experimental Station 329: 1-433.
Forbes WTM. 1960. Lepidoptera of New York and neighboring states. IV. Agaristidae through Nymphulidae, including butterflies. Memoirs of the Cornell University Agricultural Experimental Station 371: 1-188.
Hickin NW. 1967. Caddis larvae: larvae of the British Trichoptera. Hutchinson, London. 480 pp. (see pp. 35-49)
Hinton HE. 1949. On the function, origin, and classification of pupae. Proc. Trans. S. Lond. Ent. Nat. Hist. Soc. 1947-1948: 111-154.
Kimmins DE. 1962. Keys to the British species of aquatic Megaloptera and Neuroptera with ecological notes. Freshwater Biological Association Scientific Publication No. 8., 2nd ed. 23 pp.
Lange WH. 1956. A generic revision of the aquatic moths of North America: (Lepidoptera:Pyralidae, Nymphulinae). Wasmann Journal of Biology 14: 59-144.
MacKay MR. 1962. Larvae of North American Tortricinae (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae). Canadian Entomologist Supplement 28: 1-182.
McCafferty WP, Minno MC. 1979. The aquatic and semiaquatic Lepidoptera of Indiana and adjacent areas. The Great lakes Entomologist 12:179-187.
Munroe EG. 1972. Pyraloidea. Pyralidae (part). Pp. 1-304, Fasc. 13.1, A-C in R. B. Dominick, ed., The moths of America north of Mexico. E. W. Classey Ltd.: London, UK.
Neunzig HH. 1966. Larvae of the genus Nigronia Banks (Neuroptera: Corydalidae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 68: 11-16.
Parfin SI. 1952. The Megaloptera and Neuroptera of Minnesota. Am. Midl. Nat. 47: 421-434.
Parfin SI, Gurney AB. 1956. The spongilla-flies, with special reference to those of the Western Hemisphere (Sisyridae, Neuroptera). Proceedings of the United States National Museum 105: 421-529.
Poirrier MA, Arceneaux YM. 1972. Studies on southern Sisyridae (spongillaflies) with a key to the third-instar larvae and additional sponge-host records. American Midland Naturalist 88: 455-458.
Ross HH. 1937. Nearctic alder flies of the genus Sialis (Megaloptera, Sialidae). Bulletin of the Illinois Natural History Survey 21: 57-78.

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