Location: Durban_South Africa
February 10, 2014 10:18 pm
This damselfly? was spotted early in the morning on 10th April 2014 in Durban, South Africa. Mid summer.
I have never seen one like this before. At fist I thought it was a moth or butterfly because of the shape of the wings. Total length about 60mm.
This is not a Damselfly, but rather an Antlion in the family Myrmeleontidae and in the Nerve Winged Insect order Neuroptera, which also includes Lacewings and Owlflies. We thought this would be an easy Antlion to identify, because of the large, unusual wings. We thought we were off to a good lead when we located this image on Beetles in the Bush of an individual in the genus Palpares, but all the examples from that genus have rounded tips on the wings, while your Antlion has pointed tips. Though it is strictly North American species, we turned to BugGuide for some help, and we noticed that the general in the tribe Nemoleontini on BugGuide, including Glenurus gratus, have pointed wings. Alas, The Antlions of South Africa lists many species and genera, but does not have photos of the individuals. It is merely a checklist. Continued efforts on our part led to the Field Guide to Insects of South Africa and a photo of a Tree Hole Antlion in the genus Cymothales that has similar pointed wings, and it is described as being: “small (wingspan 56mm), delicately built, with very long thin legs, and highly iridescent wings intricately patterned in shades of brown and ending in an elegant hooked tip. Biology: Larvae live in detritus in tree holes or in fine sand on rock ledges below overhangs. Habitat: Restricted to the region, especially arid areas.” A photo on Project Noah shows striking similarities.