Lacewings & Antlions (Neuroptera)

Greek "neuron" (sinew) + "ptera" (wings)
The order for these insects, Neuroptera, means "Nerve-Winged Insects", which refers to the extensive net-like branching in their two pairs of membranous wings. When not in flight, wings are folded over the abdomen or held up tent-like. Lacewings & Antlions are related to the Megaloptera which are sometimes included in the Neuroptera order. Adults are mostly predators, or they may feed on plant nectar and pollen. Larvae live in soil or on plants and eat smaller aphids, mites, and scale insects. Larvae have special pincer-shaped mouthparts to impale their prey and then suck out the body through hollow tubes.


click for enlargement
Green Lacewing
© 2004 Joyce Gross
click for enlargement
Lacewing
Dr. Antonio J. Ferreira © 1999 California Academy of Sciences
click for enlargement
Antlion
© 2005 Joyce Gross


Quick ID

  • Two pair of wings, heavily netted
  • Wings may be held tent-like over the body
  • Long thread-like antennae

More information about Neuroptera

University of California, Berkeley    Berkeley Natural History Museums
Copyright © 1995-2010 UC Regents. All Rights Reserved.
Last updated: Jan 3, 2017