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green lacewings

Chrysopidae

What do they look like?

Adult Green Lacewings are small to medium-sized insects (10-20 mm). They are bright green, with soft skinny bodies and large wings that fold over their back like roof on a house. They often have golden eyes. The larvae are also long, with an large sharp mandibles, bumpy skin, and and long strips of brown or grey on a lighter background. Often it's tail lashes and moves as it hunts.

Where do they live?

Green Lacewings are found around the world. There are about 90 species in the United States, and probably about 30 species in Michigan.

What kind of habitat do they need?

These predators are found in vegetation, especially forest and grassland.

How do they grow?

Active larvae emerge from eggs and start to hunt. This group has complete metamorphosis, so after the larva has grown and molted several times, it spins a cocoon under a leaf and pupates, emerging as a winged adult later.

How long do they live?

Probably about one year.

How do they behave?

Larvae are active during the day and night, adults only move around or fly at night. These animals are not social.

How do they communicate with each other?

Probably mainly by scent and hearing, perhaps also visually. Males and females sing "duets", calling back and forth to each other during courtship.

What do they eat?

Both adult and larval lacewings eat aphids and other small, soft-bodied insects and mites on plants. They also sometimes take nectar from flowers, but they are mainly predators.

What eats them and how do they avoid being eaten?

Some green lacewings can hear the calls of bats, and when they do they drop out of the air and land immediately. They are active at night to avoid the attention of birds. The larvae appear to have a chemical defense, but little is known of this.

How do they interact with us?

Lacewings are important for the control of aphids and other small pest insects on plants. Species in this group are sold to gardeners and farmers for release onto their plants.

  • Ways that people benefit from these animals:
  • controls pest population

Are they endangered?

No species (that we know of) are endangered.

  • IUCN Red List [Link]
    Not Evaluated

Contributors

George Hammond (author), Animal Diversity Web.

 
University of Michigan Museum of ZoologyNational Science Foundation

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Hammond, G. . "Chrysopidae" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed July 24, 2014 at http://www.biokids.umich.edu/accounts/Chrysopidae/

BioKIDS is sponsored in part by the Interagency Education Research Initiative. It is a partnership of the University of Michigan School of Education, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, and the Detroit Public Schools. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant DRL-0628151.
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