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*** Note: KnowYourInsects.org does its best to include correct identifications of insect photos. It’s always possible that we made a mistake, however, so if you see a misidentification, please contact us and we will correct it. Thanks!

Order Raphidioptera: the snakeflies — Examples

Snakefly (Order Raphidioptera)
Snakefly in the genus Agulla, family Raphidiidae, order Raphidioptera.
Photographed and identified by: Shelli St. Clair. Location: Columbia, California, USA. Date: 26 May, 2016.
Shelli says, “It landed on my windshield and I was able to get a really good photo of it w/my iPhone.” Beautiful shot, Shelli!
Snakefly (Order Raphidioptera)
Snakefly, male, in the genus Agulla, family Raphidiidae order Raphidioptera.
Photographed by: D. Weller. Identified by D. Weller and S. St. Clair. Location: Sonora, California, USA. Date: 17 May, 2016.
D. Weller found this one on a car windshield. Her sister Shelli St. Clair says, “About 3 hours prior to my sister’s photo, a passenger in my car shooed one out the car window (about 5 miles away from my sister’s encounter). We’ve never seen this insect before (she has lived her all her life), and there were 2 sightings in the same afternoon!” See the previous entry for yet another encounter by Shelli!
Snakefly (Order Raphidioptera)
Snakefly, female, in the genus Agulla, family Raphidiidae order Raphidioptera.
Photographed and identified by: Cathleen Capogeannis. Location: east foothills of San Jose, California, USA. Date: 2 May 2015 (late afternoon).
Cathleen found this one on a house.
Snakefly (Order Raphidioptera)
Snakefly, Agulla bicolor, family Raphidiidae, order Raphidioptera.
□ This wonderful mirrored photo shows the side view and the underside of this species of Snakefly.
Photographed and identified by: Tommy Vick. Location: Fort Davis, Texas, USA. Date: 16 April, 2020.
Snakefly (Order Raphidioptera)
Snakefly, female, in the genus Agulla, family Raphidiidae, order Raphidioptera.
□The snakefly gets its name from its snake-like head that perches on the end of its long, neck-like thorax. This nonaggressive insect shares little else with snakes. The female, shown here, has a long “tail”, which is actually an egg-laying structure called an ovipositor.
Photographed and identified by: Joey Sanchez. Location: Union, Washington, USA. Date: 29 June, 2018.
Joey says, “I found this snakefly (Raphidioptera) on my bus ride home from school.” KnowYourInsects.org says, “ Great job of identification, Joey!”
Closeup of Snakefly
Snakefly, female, in the genus Agulla, family Raphidiidae, order Raphidioptera.
□ Snakeflies are predatory insects, which means they attack and kill their prey, which often include aphids. At one time, they were grouped with the Lacewings in the order Neuroptera, but they have since been separated into their own group: Raphidioptera.
Photographed and identified by: Carleen McLain. Location: Portland, Oregon, USA. Date: 8 July 2017.
Closeup of Snakefly
Snakefly, female, in the genus Agulla, family Raphidiidae, in order Raphidioptera.
□ There are two families of Snake Flies: Raphidiidae and Inocelliidae. One way to tell the two apart is to look at the stigma (also called pterostigma), which is the slightly darkened cell at the lower right of the wing in the photo here). If the stigma has a tiny vein separating it in two, it’s Raphidiidae. If not, it’s Inocelliidae. This one has the little vein (a veinlet), so it’s Raphidiidae. And British Columbia only has one genus in that family: Agulla.
Photographed and identified by: Joyce Kay. Location: Castlegar, British Columbia, Canada. Date: 29 July 2019.
Snakefly
Snakefly, female, in the genus Agulla, family Raphidiidaeorder Raphidioptera.
□ See the photographer’s comment below.
Photographed by: Kathryne Rupley. Identified to order by: Kathryne Rupley and her two girls. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: North Fork, California, USA. Date: 4 May, 2019.
“The girls found it on a tree and captured her to identify this mysterious bug. For sure they thought a new and dangerous species, but your website was useful in naming her a snakefly, our very first!” KnowYourInsects.org says, “Kudos to your curious girls!”
Snakefly (Order Raphidioptera)
Snakefly, female, in the genus Agulla, family Raphidiidae, order Raphidioptera.
Photographed and identified by: Ruel Parent. Location: Sunnyvale, California, USA. Date: 22 March 2015.
Ruel found this snakefly indoors on a windowsill.
Snakefly larva (Order Raphidioptera)
Snakefly larva, in the genus Agulla, family Raphidiidae, order Raphidioptera.
Photographed by: Cindy Andress. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Unknown. Date: 27 October, 2017.
Cindy says, “I found it under my husband’s pillow. He had been out chopping wood. When he woke up with bites on his arms, I checked the bedding and found it!”
Snakefly larva (Order Raphidioptera)
Snakefly larva, in the genus Agulla, family Raphidiidae, order Raphidioptera.
Photographed by: Chris Solberg. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Berkeley, California, USA. Date: 10 July 2015.
Chris says, “The legs push from the back...front part almost ‘snaking’ or creeping forward.”
Snakefly larva (Order Raphidioptera)
Snakefly larva, in the genus Agulla, family Raphidiidae, order Raphidioptera.
□ Note the similarities with the adult: a long thorax and a similarly shaped head.
Photographed and identified by: Anonymous. Location: Vancouver, Washington, USA. Date: 29 July 2015.
Snakefly larva (Order Raphidioptera)
Snakefly larva, in the genus Agulla, family Raphidiidae, order Raphidioptera.
□ This photo shows the underside of the Snakefly larva.
Discovered by: Nicole Bobier and her mom. Photographed by: Nicole Bobier. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: northern California, USA. Date: 25 October, 2019.


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Photos at the top of this website are (from left to right): potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) — photo credit: Scott Bauer, U.S. Department of Agriculture; ebony jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata)— photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; sweat bee (Agapostemon splendens) — photo credit: Natalie Allen and Stephanie Kolski, U.S. Geological Survey; preying mantis, monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), hellgrammite (aka toe biter) larva and eyed click beetle (Alaus oculatus) — photo credit: Leslie Mertz; Halloween pennant (Celithemis eponina) — photo credit: Kay Meng, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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