Aquatic Insects of Michigan
by Ethan Bright, Museum of Zoology Insect Division and School of Natural Resources and Environment
Aquatic Neuroptera (Sisyridae - Spongillaflies) of Michigan
Although Neuroptera is a sizable insect order of about 5000 species, only two families - Nevrorthidae (considered a "basal" family of Neuroptera (Aspöck et al. 2001)) and Sisyridae - have become adapted to an aquatic life phase. Only Sisyridae is found in the Nearctic, and in our area. There are 3 species in 2 genera recorded in Michigan.
Adults lay eggs on vegetation overlying an aquatic body containing freshwater sponges, upon which spongillafly larvae feed by using long stylet mouthparts to pierce and suck out contents. Like Megaloptera, larvae crawl out of the waterbody to create a pupal chamber, and after about 1-2 weeks the adult uses special mouthparts to emerge. Adults usually live about several weeks. More information on biology and ecology: Identification of Michigan Sisyridae.
Sisyridae - Spongillaflies
Bowles DE. 2006. Spongillaflies (Neuroptera: Sisyridae) of North America with a key to the larvae and adults. Zootaxa 1357: 1-19.
Parfin SI, Gurney AB. 1956. The spongilla-flies, with special reference to those of the Western Hemisphere (Sisyridae, Neuroptera). Proceedings of the United States National Museum 105:421-529.
Peckarsky BL, Fraissient PR, Penton MA, Conklin DJ. 1990. Freshwater macroinvertebrates of Northeastern North America. Comstock Publishing Associates, Cornell University Press: Ithaca, New York.