Osmylid Lacewings
Mantid Lacewing I
Mantid Lacewing II
Mantid Lacewing III  
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Banded Lacewing
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Slender Brown Lacewing
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Yellow Owl-fly
Cloudy-wings Owl-fly
Common Owl-fly
Black Owl-fly
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Australian Common Owl-fly - Suhpalacsa subtrahens

Family Ascalaphidae 

This page contains pictures and information about Australian Common Owl-flies that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.
Female, body length 45mm 
The Australian Owl-fly is dark grayish brown in colour with yellow markings. Eyes are greyish brown, with long and clubbed antennae. Two pairs of membrane wings are clean with dark brown pterostigma. Legs are short and dark in colour. 
This is the most common Owl-fly that we found in Brisbane. We sometimes saw this Owl-fly in Alexandra Hill, Mt Cotton and Karawatha Forest (all are opened Eucalypt forest in Brisbane) in mid summer. They rested on plant about a meter from ground. When distributed, it slowly fly away to another plant near by. 


Females and males are look similar, male with slender abdomen.
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Found in Alexandra Hill
The Owlfly has the long and clubbed antenna, otherwise it looks like a dragonfly.
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Pictures taken in Karawatha Forest, early summer 
As a Lacewing, the Owl flies relatively fast-flying insects, however, they are not as a good flier as the dragonfly. They rest on stems most of the time. They fly only when disturbed. They fly in short distance. 
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Mt Cotton, mid-summer 
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Males look similar to the females with slender and longer abdomen.
Those Owlflies were usually found late afternoon in Karawatha Forest during early summer. It flied away only when we came too closely.
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Body length 45mm, found in Karawatha Forest
It seems that they are active near late afternoon to evening, likes to rest on grass stems.
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Notice the eyes divided horizontally. 
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Owlfly Eggs and Larvae

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Eggs, 2mm x 3mm
In mid-summer we found a cluster of eggs on grass seed stem. There were more than 30 eggs encircling the stem. We took them home and waited to see what would come out. 
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Larvae body length 4mm
A few days later, an Owlfly larva came out from each eggs. They stayed together on the empty egg shells motionless for one or two days. Then that started to move around. We put them back to where we found them. The Owlfly larvae are predators live in plant litter or on trees.
1. Insects of Australia, CSIRO, Division of Entomology, Melbourne University Press, 2nd Edition 1991, pp 541.
2. Revision of the Australian Ascalaphidae (Insecta: Neuroptera) - New, T.R. (1984). Aust. J. Zool. Suppl. 100: 1-86.

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Up ] [ Australian Common Owl-fly ] Yellow Owl-fly ] Lyriform Owl-fly ] Black Owl-fly ] Cloudy-wings Owl-fly ]


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Last updated: June 09, 2012.