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Lab 7: The Minor Aquatic Insect Orders

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Lab 7: The Minor Aquatic Insect Orders
The following insect orders comprise what can be considered the minor insect orders. In some cases, such as in the Orthoptera, Neuroptera, Lepidoptera, and Hymenoptera, the majority of the order is terrestrial and only a few members of select families or groups have made a transition to an aquatic lifestyle. In the Megaloptera, this whole order is aquatic, however, there are only two families.
Orthoptera (paurometabolus, semi-aquatic)

adults with 4 wings, chewing mouthparts, thickened forewings, saltitorial or fossorial

Orthoptera families:

Tetrigidae (pygmy grasshoppers)

Tettigoniidae (long-horned grasshoppers)

Gryllotalpdae (mole crickets)

Tridactylidae (pygmy mole crickets)

Megaloptera (holometabolus)

Sialidae—unsegmented median caudal filament, abdominal lateral filaments with 4-5 segments, well developed mandibles
Corydalidae—generally large, abdomen terminates in a pair of anal prolegs, abdominal segments 1-8 with two-segmented lateral filaments, well developed mandibles
Neuroptera (holometabolus)

Sisyridae—small stout, with conspicuous setae, transparent (2-3 segment) ventral gills on abdominal segments 1-7, piercing mouthparts
Lepidoptera (holometabolus)

  • presence of a distinct head with a ring of ocelli (stemmata/simple eyes)

  • 10 abdominal segments with fleshy prolegs on segments 3, 4, 5, 6, and 10

  • spiracles on the prothoraciic segment and abdominal segments 1-8

  • often with 6 ocelli

Lepidoptera families:



Hymenoptera (holometabolus)

  • most are internal parasatoids of aquatic immature insects that are usually found in plant tissues

  • generally show no modifications as compared with terrestrial hymenoptera (already adapted to live in hemolymph of other insects

Terms to know:

lateral filaments


stemmata (simple eyes)


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