Oligotoma saundersii


Physical characteristics: Adults measure 0.35 to 0.5 inches (8.9 to 12.7 millimeters) in length. Males have toothed jaws and reddish brown bodies, while the females are chocolate brown.

Geographic range: This species is native to north central India but is now widespread throughout the tropical regions of the world, as well as parts of the southern United States and Southeast Asia.

Habitat: This species is commonly found on trunks of rainforest trees, as well as on royal palms in gardens and parks.

Diet: They eat lichens (LIE-kuhns) or mosses and algae (AL-jee), tiny plantlike organisms, growing on the bark of tree trunks.

Behavior and reproduction: This species lives in colonies made up primarily of mothers and their offspring. The females guard the eggs. Gallery surfaces are almost completely camouflaged with webspinner

waste or finely chewed pieces of wood and bark. Winged males are commonly attracted to lights.

Saunders embiids and people: This species does not impact humans or their activities.

Conservation status: This species is not endangered or threatened ■


Ross, E. S. "Embiidina (Embioptera, Webspinners)." In Encyclopedia of Insects, edited by V. H. Resh and R. T. Cardé. San Diego: Academic Press/Elsevier Science, 2003.


Edgerly, J. S. "Maternal Behavior of a Webspinner (Order Embiidina)." Ecological Entomology 12 (1987): 1-11.

Valentine, B. D. "Grooming Behavior in Embioptera and Zoraptera (Insecta)." Ohio Journal of Science 86 (1986): 150-152.

Web sites:

"Embioptera." Department of Entomology, North Carolina State University. http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/ course/ent425/copendium/webspi~1.html (accessed on September 27, 2004).

"Embioptera." Ecowatch. http://www.ento.csiro.au/Ecowatch/Insects_ Invertebrates/embioptera.htm (accessed on September 27, 2004).

This species lives in colonies made up primarily of mothers and their offspring. The females (like that pictured here) guard the eggs. (Illustration by John Megahan. Reproduced by permission.)

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