Hylobittacus apicalis  (Hagen, 1861)

Diagnosis:  This species of hanging-fly is unmistakable: it has highly iridescent wings that are mostly transparent, but with darkened wingtips.  No other bittacid in North America looks like this.  The male genital bulb has short epiandrial lobes that are only about as long as the basistyles and have thick denticles at the apex.  The cerci are much shorter than the basistyles.


Distribution – Geographical:  This species is found in the southeastern and Atlantic coastal states of the U.S. as far west as Illinois and eastern Oklahoma.


Distribution – Temporal:  Adult emergence is from late May to early August, with peak emergence in June.


Ecology:  This species is found in warm, moist, bottomland forests with high humidity.


Biology:  The immature stages and mating behavior have been described by Setty (1940).


Notes:  This is the only hanging-fly in North America that routinely rests with its wings spread.

     Originally described in the genus Bittacus, it was transferred to its own genus (Hylobittacus) by Byers in 1979.

     The name apicalis refers to the darkened tips of the wings in this species.




Byers, G.W. 1979. Hylobittacus, a New Genus of North American Bittacidae (Mecoptera). Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society, 52(2):402-404.


Hagen, H.A. 1861. Synopsis of the Neuroptera of North America, with a list of the South American species.  Smithsonian miscellaneous Collections,4(1):xx, 1-347.


Setty, L.R. 1940. Biology and morphology of some North American Bittacidae (Order Mecoptera). American Midland Naturalist, 23:257-353.



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)