Sunday, May 18, 2008

Green Lacewing

Adult Green Lacewing

In the family Chrysopidae and probably in the genus Chrysoperla. Internet references are unclear on the diet of adult lacewings. It seems to depend upon the genus and species, although many sources do not clearly make this distinction. I'll play it safe and quote BugGuide: Some adults are predators, others take liquids such as honeydew, and some feed on pollen.

All sources agree that lacewing larvae (sometimes called aphid lions) are voracious predators that eat aphids, leafhoppers, spider mites, thrips, moth eggs, and other soft bodied insects. The larvae have a pair of sickle-shaped mandibles which they use to grasp and pierce prey. These mandibles are actually hollow tubes. Lacewing larvae inject enzymes that "pre-digest" their prey. They then suck out the resulting liquified insect innards.

Lacewing Larvae (Photo from July, 2007)

An aphid lion's needle-like mandibles can also pierce and inject enzymes into human skin. For most people the resulting bite will be a minor irritant -- something like a gnat bite. However, as is the case any time foreign protiens are injected into the skin, a few individuals may have an allergic reaction.

Additional sources and links:
LSU Ag Center
Cornell University




Sandpiper (Lin) said...

That Lacewing is so delicate. Beautiful pictures, and in your previous posts, too.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Gorgeous picture of the lacewing on the flower.

Unknown said...

These are beautiful, very clear pictures. I don't always have the same success, but I love your shots.


David Webb - Nature Pictures

Tom said...

These are great shot Marvin.. and great information.

speshlk said...

I must be one of the few ones that are allergic. I've caught some biting me and they leave a really nasty blister that can take up to 2weeks to heal.