View the above photo record (by Richard Johnstone) in LacewingMAP here.
Size: Medium sized (Wingspan 60mm)
Adults can be recognised by the striking chequered pattern of black/brown yellow and white along the abdomen.
The body is predominantly yellow with a few dark brown, parallel lines on the thorax. The wings are clear with a conspicuous amber-coloured leading edge.
As with other owlflies, they possess long, clubbed antennae.
The larvae closely resemble those of antlions (Myrmeleontidae).
Ascalaphus festivus inhabits grasslands, especially in damp places such as moist or flooded grassland as well as marshes, floodplains and other wetlands fringes.
Adults are recorded during Summer from October to April.
The winged adults are frequently flushed from long grass. They fly rapidly but will soon settle again on a grass stem in typical posture, wings pointing downwards and the abdomen held out at an angle to the grass stem.
They hawk smaller flying insects at dusk.
Eggs are laid in batches on leaves and stems, and the larvae are sedentary ambush-predators.
Status and Distribution
Ascalaphus festivus is Common and widespread throughout the Afrotropical Region – and beyond. In South Africa it is absent only from the Eastern and Western Cape provinces.
Order: Neuroptera Family: Ascalaphidae Subfamily: Ascalaphinae Tribe: Ascalaphini Genus: Ascalaphus Species: festivus
Virtual Museum (LacewingMAP > Search VM > By Scientific or Common Name)
The use of photographs by Alan Manson, Bernardine Altenroxel and Richard Johnstone is acknowledged. This species text has benefited enormously from comments made by Mervyn Mansell on records he has identified in LacewingMAP. We acknowledge his important contribution.
Recommended citation format for this species text:
Tippett RM 2022. Ascalaphus festivus. Biodiversity and Development Institute, Cape Town.
Available online at http://thebdi.org/2023/01/15/ascalaphus-festivus/