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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Class: Insecta
Subclass: Pterygota
Infraclass: Neoptera
Superorder: Neuropterida
Order: Megaloptera

Megaloptera from the Latin meaning "ample wings" is the order that includes alderflies, dobsonflies, and fishflies. They are considered beneficial, as their megalopteran larvae help control the black fly population by consuming their larvae, and are an important source of fish food.


Members of this order are 9-70mm in length, and have large hind wings which are wider at the base than the fore wings. At rest, the wings are folded on the back, roof like. They are poor fliers.

Life Cycle

Megalopterans undergo complete metamorphosis, going through a distinct pupal stage. Adults eat very little or do not eat at all.


Nymphs are aquatic, and are generally found in freshwater ponds and streams. Adults are usually found in the vicinity of nymph habitats.


Megaloptera was formerly a suborder of the order neuroptera, or "net-wings", as they have densely veined wings as well. However, they lack forking veins at the wing margins.

Number of species

There are 180 species found worldwide, 20 of which are found in North America.


There are two families in this order.