Anabittacus iridipennis  Kimmins, 1929


Diagnosis:  There are two species of bittacids in Chile, but this is the only species of Bittacidae with iridescent wings.  The antennae are longer than the body.  A study of the male genital segments shows that this species has some remarkable morphological character states.  The male 9th tergum and sternum fused into continuous ring; cerci projecting caudad further than any part of 9th tergum; 9th tergum with two short, downturned submedian lobes; 9th sternum with narrowly triangular median projection; basistyles greatly swollen (Byers, 1965; Villegas & Byers, 1982).


Distribution – Geographical:  This species is found in moist coastal regions of southern Chile from about 37° to 42° south latitude.  It seems to be most abundant on Chilóe Island.


Distribution – Temporal:  Byers (1965) reported collections of this species from January until March, and CAS has recently collected specimens from early December.


Ecology:  Recent collections have been made in mixed Araucaria and Nothofagus forests that are heavily disturbed.


Biology:  Nothing is known of immature stages or life cycle.


Notes:  This appears to be one of the most primitive lineages of surviving Bittacidae.  The long antennae, greatly enlarged male cerci, and highly modified 9th tergum are characteristics in common with Tytthobittacus from Australia, so that these two genera appear to form a basal clade within the family.  Other characteristics, such as the projection of the 9th sternum are unique to Anabittacus.

            The setae covering the male genital bulb all appear to have stalked bases.

            The dististyles of the male genital bulb are quite large for this family.




Byers, G.W.   1965. New and uncommon Neotropical Mecoptera. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society, 38:135-144.


Villegas, B. and G.W. Byers. 1981. Orobittacus obscurus, a new genus and species of Bittacidae (Mecoptera) from California. Pan-Pacific Entomologist, 57(3):385-396, 11 figs.





A Bibliography of Mecoptera


A World Catalog of Mecoptera

The Mecoptera of Taiwan

The Mecoptera of North America


The Mecoptera of Chile


The Mecoptera of Mexico (in progress)


The Mecoptera of Gaoligongshan, Yunnan, China (in progress)


  • Norm Penny
  • Collections Manager
  • California Academy of Sciences
  • 55 Music Concourse Drive
  • San Francisco, CA 94118
  • 415-379-5320 (direct)