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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.

Glossary

Ethiopian

living in sub-Saharan Africa (south of 30 degrees north) and Madagascar.

World Map

Nearctic

living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.

World Map

Neotropical

living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.

World Map

Palearctic

living in the northern part of the Old World. In otherwords, Europe and Asia and northern Africa.

World Map

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends.

carnivore

an animal that mainly eats meat

chaparral

mid-altitude coastal areas with mild, rainy winters and long, dry summers. Dominant plant types are dense, evergreen shrubs.

diurnal
  1. active during the day, 2. lasting for one day.
ectothermic

animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature

forest

forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.

herbivore

An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.

iteroparous

offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).

metamorphosis

A large change in the shape or structure of an animal that happens as the animal grows. In insects, "incomplete metamorphosis" is when young animals are similar to adults and change gradually into the adult form, and "complete metamorphosis" is when there is a profound change between larval and adult forms. Butterflies have complete metamorphosis, grasshoppers have incomplete metamorphosis.

motile

having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.

nocturnal

active during the night

oriental

found in the oriental region of the world. In other words, India and southeast Asia.

World Map

rainforest

rainforests, both temperate and tropical, are dominated by trees often forming a closed canopy with little light reaching the ground. Climbing plants are also abundant. There is plenty of moisture and rain, but may be somewhat seasonal.

scrub forest

scrub forests develop in areas that experience dry seasons.

sedentary

remains in the same area

sexual

reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female

solitary

lives alone

swamp

a wetland area that may be permanently or intermittently covered in water, often dominated by woody vegetation.

taiga

this biome is characterized by large expanses of coniferous forest, there is an extended cold season and heavy snowfall.

temperate

that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).

terrestrial

Living on the ground.

tropical

the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.

 
University of Michigan Museum of ZoologyNational Science Foundation

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Hammond, G. . "Chrysopidae" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 23, 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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