Subject: Insect found in deadwood
Geographic location of the bug: Ontario, Canada
Time: 02:35 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Hi,
I’ve been analyzing insect emerging from deadwood. This is the only one I have difficulty identifying to the even the order level. It emerged from pine that had been left to rot for one year. It emerged in early summer. The images were taken using my camera phone thorough a stereo microscope on max zoom. It has 4 wings, its antennae are segmented and longer than its body. It looks like some weird cross between strepsiptera(too big) and bark lice (different face shape). Even order level identification would be much appreciated. Thanks 🙂
How you want your letter signed: PJ
The four wings definitely eliminates any of the Flies in the order Diptera. We decided to browse BugGuide prior to requesting assistance on this identification, and at first we thought this might be a Zorapteran from the order Zoraptera, which would represent a new Insect order for our site. Here is a beautiful drawing from BugGuide and here is an image from BugGuide. According to BugGuide: “Tiny, gregarious insects found in decaying wood. Wingless and winged forms occur in both sexes. 4 membranous wings with much reduced venation. Antennae moniliform and 9-segmented. Wingless forms lack compound eyes and ocelli, but winged forms have both. Tarsi 2-segmented. Cerci are short and unsegmented. Abdomen, short, oval and 10-segmented.” Our main cause for doubting that identification is that your images depict many more than 9 segments in the antennae, so we believe this is most likely NOT a Zorapteran, but interestingly, the rest of the description seems accurate. We will contact Eric Eaton to get his input. According to NC State University General Entomology: ” Zoraptera is the third smallest insect order. Only Mantophasmatodea and Grylloblattodea contain fewer species. Some species of Zoraptera have been found living in the nests of termites and mammals. No one is sure what these insects are doing there. In most Zoraptera, there are two forms of adults: winged individuals are usually brown in color and have both eyes and ocelli, wingless individuals are usually blind and pale (unpigmented) in color.” Perhaps one of our readers will have a suggestion.
Eric Eaton Responds.
Wow. I think you might be on the right track with Zoraptera, actually. Otherwise, maybe a male scale insect. I do not have enough expertise in either of those to have a better clue.
author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America
Thanks for letting us know what you determined. We are linking to the Duskywings in the family Coniopterygidae on BugGuide where it states: “Adults covered with white waxy powder which gives a granulated appearance to the surface when viewed close-up; wings whitish with reduced venation, and held tent-like over abdomen at rest; antennae long and slender; mouthparts moderately long and beak-like; legs relatively long, especially hindlegs.” Here is a BugGuide image that somewhat resembles the images you submitted. How do you explain its emergence from rotting pine?
That would be great PJ. We look forward to any updates you might have in the future.