The Neuroptera of Finland

The insect order Neuroptera, net-winged species includes some 6000 species of which 57 species have been found in Finland. The close orders Megaloptera and Mecoptera are often included in the Neuroptera; and there are 14 species in these groups in Finland.

The distribution and ecology of net-winged insects are very poorly known in Finland. There is no guide book on this group published in Finnish. The high quality literature on Neuroptera published by the late professor Martin Meinander no longer corresponds to neither the present species composition nor its distribution in Finland.


Ant lion, the larval stage of Myrmeleontidae, captures (on left) with its sickle like jaws an ant falling into a sandy pit.© Teemu Rintala.

Insects in lush deciduous forests

Most of the net-winged adult insects have a particular vein patterns in their wings.  The larval stages usually feed on smaller invertebrates such as aphids.  In some species the adults are also predators.  Most of the net-winged insects favour lush deciduous forests, but there are species whose larval stages live in water and adults mainly in waterside vegetation.

Information about the distribution of net-winged insects has been collect to a database from observations by museum experts and active hobbyists. The database is maintained by the Hemiptera Expert group and it includes some 8000 observations. The coverage of distribution data varies a lot in different parts of Finland; there is a clear shortage of information especially in the western and central part of our country.  In this project we collect data on species distribution using samples collected by butterfly hobbyists. Further, separate surveys will be carried out in the least studied areas.


The aim of the project is to compile distributional and ecological data as well as provide a key to make a high quality guide book on all the net-winged insect species occurring in Finland. In the key and species description we use state-of-the art photographic methods.  The book will be published both in Finnish and English which makes it internationally more significant and attractive.

Further information

Petri Ahlroth, Finnish Environment Institute,, phone: +358 40 585 3117

Teemu Rintala, Finnish Environment Institute,, phone: +358 40 824 3286

Tomi Kumpulainen,Tampere Museum of Natural History,, phone: +358 40 801 6614

Published 2013-05-21 at 9:23, updated 2013-05-21 at 9:23

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