Snakeflies are one of the most primitive insect Orders among those that show complete metamorphosis (i.e. whose development stages are egg, larva, pupa and adult). The Order contains about 200 species.

Originally the Snakeflies were part of the Order Neuroptera. However, entomologists have now put them in their own Order called Raphidioptera.

Snakeflies are so-called because of their elongated prothorax (the bit behind the head) which makes them look a little snake-like. There are up to 200 species, though only a handful in the UK and Europe. After the adult female lays eggs in the bark of trees, the resulting larvae take up to 2 years to develop, changing their skins over a dozen times in the process.

A photograph of an adult snakefly (_Raphidia sp._)

A photograph of an adult female snakefly
Photograph by Earthandspace licensed under Creative Commons.

Other names for (or types of) Raphidioptera include:

Related terms

Related groups of terms

Related pages on this web site

See other words beginning with R

Browse terms by A-Z

Back to Glossary

If you have found this glossary useful please consider supporting the Amateur Entomologists' Society by becoming a member or making a donation.