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Bittacidae is a family of Mecopteran Insects with a cosmopolitan distribution. They use their front four limbs to hang onto a surface like a twig or stem and extend their large, powerful hindlimbs below them. When a suitable prey item approaches, it is seized in the hindlimbs and is then injected with corrosive saliva that breaks down its innards for consumption.

Bittacidae are usually yellowish brown in colour and have long, thin snouts that terminate in jaws. They are usually yellow-brown in colour. Their large hindlimbs are never used for walking as they are too specialized for their predatory purpose. 

Prior mating, the male Bittacid presents the female with an edible morsel, as is often observed in Mecoptera. The female then lays her eggs without any organization in her own habitat. The larvae resemble caterpillars and are thought to be carnivorous. The larvae have at least 20 eyes. Once at its final instar, the larva burrows into the soil and forms a pupa. Because its legs are not bound to the walls of the pupa, it can move around inside it. Pupae have a special lid that allows for the adult to emerge easily.

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© David Klop

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