|Copyright: Simon Valdez (Elsimon)
|Date Taken: 2008-02-23|
|Exposure: f/3.2, 1/320 seconds|
|More Photo Info: [view]|
|Photo Version: Original Version|
|Date Submitted: 2009-07-26 13:03|
|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|Hi! I havent taken any pictures lately so I browsed my files and found this Megaloptera picture I took in Costa Rica, this indivudual was around 12 cm long. |
Despite such impressive jaws megalopteras are harmless to humans, not to each other tho, once when I was a student for a class we colected several megaloptera larvae, which are aquatic, and in our ignorance we put some together in the same jar,little we knew the larvae are vicously territorial and instanlty engaged each other on a fierce combat, and they were not shy on using their jaws agains each other, luckly as in most wildlife battles, one of the parts conceded and none were seriously hurt.
The order's name comes from Ancient Greek - from mega- (μέγα-) "large" + pteryx (πτέρυξ) "wing" -, in reference to the large, clumsy wings of these insects. Megaloptera are relatively unknown insects across much of their range, due to the adults' short lives, the aquatic larvae's tolerance to pollution which is often rather high (so they are not often encountered by swimmers etc), and the generally crepuscular or nocturnal habits. However, in the Americas the dobsonflies are rather well-known, as their males have tusk-like mandibles. These, while formidable in appearance, are relatively harmless to humans, as well as all other organisms; much like a peacock's feathers they serve no purpose other than to impress females, and in addition to hold them during mating.
The female lays thousands of eggs in a single mass, placing them on vegetation overhanging water. Megaloptera undergo the most rudimentary form of complete metamorphosis among the insects. There are fewer differences between the larval and adult forms of Megaloptera than in any other order of holometabolous insects, and their aquatic larvae dwell in fresh water, around which the adults also live. The larvae are carnivorous, possessing strong jaws that they use to capture other aquatic insects. They have large heads and elongated bodies. The abdomen bears a number of fine tactile filaments, which, in some species, may include gills. The final segment of the abdomen bears either a pair of prolegs, or a single, tail-like appendage.
The larvae grow slowly, taking several years to reach the last larval stage. When they reach maturity, the larvae crawl out onto land to pupate in damp soil or under logs. Unusually, the pupa is fully motile, with large mandibles that it can use to defend itself against predators. The short-lived adults emerge from the pupa to mate - many species never feed as adults, living only a few days or hours.
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