Thursday, 13 December 2012

Another Odd-ball

My observant neighbour, Christina, brought over this odd creature. It appeared on the bonnet of her car.
It is small, measuring about 5 mm in diameter. In general body form and jaw structure it seemed to be neuropteroid.
As it slowly moves about with its jaws agape it presents a formidable appearance.
But when it is not moving it sits motionless with the agape jaws tucked under its body apparently awaiting detection of some unsuspecting prey. The function of the gill-like structures that surround the body is unknown, at least to me.
The jaw with its "subapical hook" is not unlike that of the Ant-lion reported in the blog below.

In fact, it is a neuropteroid. A glance at the tome "The Insects of Australia" reveals a beautiful illustration of this species or something very similar.

It is the larva of a member of the family Nymphidae. This family is known from fossils as well as living forms. I've never seen an adult nymphid at the lights in Kuranda. The adults could be mistaken for ant-lions by the casual observer. This green larva is most likely a member of the genus Osmylops.


Adrian Thysse, FCD. said...

Very cool!

randomtruth said...

That is just so amazing. It's like a little mobile bear trap. Perhaps the gills help it sense the position of prey coming by? Prey that is maybe thinking the nymph is edible - then snap! - the open jaws spring shut and grab the prey.