Nature Pays A Visit

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This extraordinary insect was discovered in the house, of all places. It is called the Small Snakefly Xanthostigma xanthostigma. This is a female with her long needle-like ovipositor.

There are only 4 species of snakefly in Great Britain under the insect order called Raphidioptera, and in 1 family Raphidiidae. There are 75 species in the whole of Europe, with around 225 worldwide. They are considered β€˜living fossils’, as species from the early Jurassic period (140 millions years ago) resemble modern-day species.

The female has a long pointed ovipositor which she uses to lay eggs between cracks in bark. Once hatched, the larvae take around 2 years to become fully grown and are largely predatory on beetle larvae. Adults and larvae feed on other invertebrates like aphids or beetle larvae.

37 thoughts on “Nature Pays A Visit

  1. In your dining room: you had better make sure there are no cracks in the table legs to provide a home for eggs πŸ™‚ What a remarkable find and such clear, beautiful and informative photographs!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Steve! πŸ™‚ These are rarely seen out in the field,, yet alone have one drop into your house! Maybe it was looking for aphids, but it was pure out of luck this time πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What an extraordinary looking insect. Superb capture, especially the second image with the head so sharply focused. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent pictures and this insect is so fascinating! I knew it only from books, but its beauty is awesome, unbelievable. I love the wings on the last picture. They look like smithery. Wonderful pictures that show all the beauty here.

    Liked by 2 people

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