Structural features and life habits of †Alienoptera (Polyneoptera, Dictyoptera, Insecta)
Structural features and life habits of described species of the extinct †Alienoptera are evaluated based on previously published studies on the group. Head structures and feedings habits are addressed, as are the locomotor organs, especially the wings and adhesive devices. Suggested pollen feeding habits and the possible role as pollinators are discussed, as well as hypothesized ant and wasp mimicry and myrmecophily. Species of †Alienoptera were likely predators, in the case of †Caputoraptor elegans Bai, Beutel et Wipfler, 2018 with a unique cephalo-prothoracic prey grasping mechanism. They were likely strong fliers with anatomical dipterism with functional hind wings. Wing joints protected by scale-like sclerotized fore wings probably allowed them to move very efficiently in dense foliage of trees or shrubs and to prey upon smaller insects. Ant mimicry, myrmecophily and “weevil mimicry” are rejected. †Meilia Vršanský et Wang, 2018 is a possible case of wasp mimicry but more evidence is required. Other suggested cases of mimicking wasps are unfounded.