As with most organisms the systematics of Neuropterida higher taxa are generally thought of as better understood, with the arrangement of lower taxa such as families and genera often left unresolved. A brief overview of the relationship with other groups of holometabolous insecets is presented below showing the placement of the orders of the Neuropterida (Megaloptera, Raphidioptera, Neuroptera) and Mecoptera.

Relationship between the orders of Neuropterida and other holometabolous invertebrate orders based on data retrieved from http://www.tolweb.org

Relationship between the orders of Neuropterida and other holometabolous invertebrate orders based on data retrieved from http://www.tolweb.org

The orders of Neuropterida are believed to be closely related to the Coleoptera (beetles). It was once believed that the Mecoptera were more closely related to the other Neuropteridan orders, and have often been studied in tandem for this reason. However the Mecoptera are now thought to have affinities with the Diptera (flies) and Siphonaptera (fleas), although a school of thought exists which considers the Siphonaptera as highly specialized members of the Mecoptera.

Appearing rather primitive when compared with other winged insects, the Neuropterida can be traced back to the Cretaceous Period, although the delicate nature of many species restricts their preservation potential to fine-grained Lagerst├Ątten such as the Santana and Crato Formations in Brazil.

References

  • Tree of Life – http://www.tolweb.org/Endopterygota
  • Palaentology – An exceptionally preserved antlion (Insecta, Neuroptera) with colour pattern preservation from the Cretaceous of Brazil (S. W. Heads, D. M. Martill, R. F. Loveridge)
  • Palaentology – New fossil lacewings and antlions (Insecta, Neuroptera) from the Lower Cretaceous Crato Formation of Brazil (F. Menon, V. N. Makarkin )