Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory




Regional Maps

Family KEROPLATIDAE Rondani, 1856

Compiler and date details

2011 - Updated by Judy King and Christine Lambkin, Queensland Museum

1999 - E.-M.E. Bugledich, CSIRO Entomology, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia


The Keroplatidae are a moderately species-rich family erected from amongst the Mycetophilidae for some 800 species in 90 genera. The family is worldwide in distribution including the subarctic and subantarctic regions, but with strong representation in Gondwanan areas and in Indo-Malaya. Biogeographical relationships and fossil evidence indicate a minimum of Cretaceous age for the grouping with probable Upper Jurassic representation even of extant genera.

Adult Keroplatidae are recognised by their wing venation, in which veins M and CuA1 are connected by a distinct crossvein (bm-cu) placed either far distant to crossvein r-m (Arachnocampinae) or with crossvein r-m absent (the remaining subfamilies).

Larval Keroplatinae include some well-known 'glow worms` (genus Arachnocampa) which suspend themselves on silken threads from cave roofs, and lure other small nematocerans to their light. Other keroplatid larvae spin silken webs in damp places, including beneath polypore (bracket) fungi, where they are predatory or mycophagous.


General References

Edwards, F.W. 1924. A note on the "New Zealand glow-worm" (Diptera, Mycetophilidae). Annals and Magazine of Natural History 9 14: 175-179

Evenhuis, N.L. 2006. Catalog of the Keroplatidae of the world. Bishop Museum Bulletin in Entomology 13: 177 pp.

Ferguson, E.W. 1925. Description of a new species of Mycetophilidae (Diptera) with luminous larvae. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 50: 487-488

Gatenby, J.B. 1959. Notes on the New Zealand Glow-worm, Bolitophila (Arachnocampa) luminosa. Transactions of the Royal Society of New Zealand 87(3–4): 291-314

Gatenby, J.B. 1960. The Australasian Mycetophilid Glowworms. Transactions of the Royal Society of New Zealand 88: 577-593

Goede, A. 1967. Tasmanian cave fauna: character and distribution. Helictite, Journal of Australasian Cave Research 5(4): 71-85

Harrison, R.A. 1966. Australian glow-worms of the genus Arachnocampa Edwards (Diptera: Mycetophilidae). Pacific Insects 8: 877-883

Hickman, V.V. 1965. On Planarivora insignis gen. et sp. n. (Diptera: Mycetophilidae), whose larval stages are parasitic in land planarians. Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania 99: 1-8

Hudson, G.V. 1887. On New Zealand Glow-worms. Transactions of the New Zealand Institute 19: 62-64

Hudson, G.V. 1950. The natural history of the New Zealand glow-worm (Arachnocampa luminosa). pp. 15–37 in, Fragments of New Zealand Entomology. Wellington : Ferguson & Osborn.

Hutson, A.M., Ackland, D.M. & Kidd, L.N. 1980. Mycetophilidae (Bolitophilinae, Ditomyiinae, Diadocidiinae, Keroplatinae, Sciophilinae and Manotinae). Handbooks for the Identification of British Insects 9(3): 1-111

Jackson, J.F. 1974. Goldschmidt's dilemma resolved: notes on the larval behavior of a new Neotropical web-spinning Mycetophilid (Diptera). American Midland Naturalist 92: 240-245

Lee, J. 1976. Bioluminescence of the Australian Glow-worm Arachnocampa richardsae Harrison. Photochemistry and Photobiology 24: 279-285

Matile, L. 1990. Recherches sur la systématique et l'évolution des Keroplatidae (Diptera, Mycetophiloidea). Mémoires du Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, Paris [1936-1950] A 148: 1-682

Perkins, R.A. 1935. "Glow Worms" and other insects collected at Numinbah, Nerang Valley, Easter Camp, Queensland Naturalist Club, 1935. Queensland Naturalist 1935: 84-85

Pugsley, C.W. 1983. Literature review of the New Zealand glowworm. Arachnocampa luminosa (Diptera: Keroplatidae), and related cave dwelling Diptera. New Zealand Entomologist 7(4): 387-407


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
16-Nov-2011 16-Nov-2011 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)