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The Owlfly

And what a splendid insect this is!

This amazing creature is an Owlfly (Haplogenius appendiculatus). I only see them very rarely, but this year I found two!

It is not a Dragonfly....and these owlflies are closely related to lacewings and ant lions (note the similarities in wing structure on adults).

Owlflies, lacewings and ant lions are classified in the order Neuroptera which is a Greek name that reflects the nerve-like branching pattern of their wing veins. (The medical specialty of neurology has a similar meaning.)

Owlflies resemble a cross between a dragonfly and an ant lion. The difference is dragonflies have short bristlelike antennae and hold their wings outstretched while resting. The Owlfly sits with its body, legs and antennae compressed to a stem, and its abdomen is extended to the air resembling a broken twig.

Adult Owlflies have large, bulging, divided eyes, which is where the common name "Owlfly" comes from.

Adult Owlflies are strong flying predators feeding on other insects. If disturbed, some adults release a strong, musk-like scent to deter an enemy.

While Owlflies may be viewed as having a bizarre appearance, they are one of many examples of insect predators that are seldom encountered, please let it continue its way unharmed.

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