Xanthostigma xanthostigma (Schummel, 1832)
A most unusual group of insects are the Snake Flies, of which there are just four UK species and about 20 living in Europe. They are best looked for on the trunks of Oak and Pine trees. All four of the UK species belong to the Raphidiidae family and are terrestial insects. The larvae live on or under loose bark and feed on other insects. Females can be distinguished from males by the presence of a long ovipositor. The adults emerge from early May onwards and are thought to spend most of their time in the tops of trees, accounting for the general scarcity of sightings. Snake Flies seem poorly recorded insects, but they are certainly some of the strangest and most difficult to find.

The one featured here is Xanthostigma xanthostigma, but finding any reliably identified photographs on the internet has proved very difficult and there is certainly no identification key to Snake Flies available via the same medium. The accompanying photographs show a female found at Sherwood Forest CP June 2010

Nottinghamshire (VC56) distribution of Xanthostigma xanthostigma
The records for the Nottinghamshire distribution map are currently provided by the following contributors - Trevor and Dilys Pendleton. Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. NBN Gateway. Sheila Wright. Tim Sexton. Phil Lee. Darren Matthews. Clumber Park SSSI Saproxylic Invertebrate Survey - A report to Natural England by EMEC Ecology 2019. Adrian Dutton. William Sheppard.

You can contribute your own records to help us gain an accurate status of this species in Nottinghamshire. Send an Excel spreadsheet of your records via the 'contact us' link at the top of the homepage.

Updated Januay 2021

copyright Trevor and Dilys Pendleton (www.eakringbirds.com) . .
Lacewings, Snake Flies and Scorpion Flies etc Photo Gallery - Thumbnail version
Lacewings, Snake Flies and Scorpion Flies etc Photo Gallery - Text version