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Hylobittacus apicalis Michigan.jpg
Hylobittacus apicalis, Michigan, USA
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Clade: Euarthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Mecoptera
Infraorder: Raptipeda
Family: Bittacidae
Handlirsch, 1906

see text

16 genera, ca. 170 species

Bittacidae is a family of scorpionflies commonly called hangingflies or hanging scorpionflies.

The genus Bittacus, comprising approximately 75% of all species within the family, occurs worldwide. Other genera are mostly confined to South America or Australia. Members of this family may be confused with crane flies, in the order Diptera, but can be distinguished by their two pairs of wings and lack of halteres.

They are distinguished in the fact that during mating the male captures a prey insect and offers it to the female as a nuptial gift. The larger the prey item is, the more receptive the female will be to mating.[1]


This list is based on The World Checklist of extant Mecoptera Species.[2] Presumably complete up to 1997, it is updated as needed. The number of species in each genus are in parentheses. A number of extinct(†) genera have been described from the fossil record.


  1. ^ Gao, Qionghua; Hua, Baozhen (3 December 2013). "Co-Evolution of the Mating Position and Male Genitalia in Insects: A Case Study of a Hangingfly". PLoS One. 8 (12). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080651.
  2. ^ Bittacidae Archived 2005-04-08 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Kevin J. Lambkin (2017). "Archebittacus exilis Riek—the oldest hangingfly (Insecta: Mecoptera: Bittacidae)". Zootaxa. 4290 (2): 385–389. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.4290.2.10.
  4. ^ a b Li, Y-L.; Ren, D.; Shih, C-K (2008). "Two Middle Jurassic hanging-flies (Insecta: Mecoptera: Bittacidae) from Northeast China" (PDF). Zootaxa. 1929: 38–46. ISSN 1175-5334.
  5. ^ Wang Y, Labandeira CC, Shih C, Ding Q, Wang C, Zhao Y, Ren D (2012). "Jurassic mimicry between a hangingfly and a ginkgo from China". Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 109 (50): 20514–20519. doi:10.1073/pnas.1205517109. PMC 3528590. PMID 23184994.
  6. ^ Petrulevicius, J. F.; Huang, D-Y.; Ren, D. (2007). "A new hangingfly (Insecta: Mecoptera: Bittacidae) from the Middle Jurassic of Inner Mongolia, China" (PDF). African Invertebrates. 48 (1): 145–152.