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 Major Groups | Insecta (insects) | Mecoptera (scorpionflies)

Mecoptera (scorpionflies) Nannochoristidae

Major Group: Insecta
Order: Mecoptera
Family: Nannochoristidae
Aquatic species in Australia belong to a single family, Nannochoristidae and a single genus, Nannochorista.

Descriptive Features:

  • larvae are peripneustic and campodeiform
  • compound eyes, 16 ommatidia
  • biting mouthparts
  • body elongate, 16-20 X longer than wide, subcylindrical but tapering posteriorly
  • well developed slender legs
  • a pair of terminal sclerotized anal hooks
  • elongate dorsal and ventral anal papillae
  • pronotum saddle-like, often enclosing mesothoracic spiracle posterolaterally, more sclerotized than other thoracic terga
  • Total length:


    Taxonomic Checklist: Genus
    Nannochorista dipteroides Tillyard
    Nannochorista eboraca Tillyard
    Nannochorista holostigma Tillyard
    Nannochorista maculipennis Tillyard

    Distribution: Tas, SE Aus

    Sensitivity Rating: SIGNAL grade 10

    Functional Feeding Group: predators


    pools of Dobson Lake, Mt Field NP Tas

    Ecology: Instream habitat: Adults of Nannochorista are common in riparian vegetation near streams and lakes. Aquatic larvae occur in accumulations of silt in shallow, slow or still waters.
    Feeding ecology: Nannochorista larvae are carnivorous, feeding on chironomid, and probably other dipteran, larvae.
    Habit: Larvae propel themselves quickly through thick silt using a snake-like motion. They are highly sensitive to the movements of prey that disturb the silt and respond quickly.
    Life history:Females lay up to 25 eggs end-to-end on wet leaf litter near the water’s edge. Pupation occurs out of the water in damp vegetation, soil or under bark of rotting logs. Nannochorista species are bivoltine with adults emerging in late spring and again in autumn.


    Information Sources: Byers 1991, Lambkin 1996, Williams 1980, Gooderham & Tsyrlin 2002, Shattuck 1998
    Key to Species: none