Osmylid Lacewings
Mantid Lacewing I
Mantid Lacewing II
Mantid Lacewing III  
Brown Lacewings
Golden Eye Lacewing
Citrus Mealybug Predator
Blue Eyes Lacewing
Diamond-banded Lacewing
Green-black Dotted L'wing 
Green Large Lacewing
Orange Antlion
Common Brown Antlion
Angular-wing Lacewing
Mottled Brown Lacewing
Banded Lacewing
Brown Line Lacewing
Slender Brown Lacewing
Mottled Black Lacewing
Silver Giant Lacewing
Black Giant Lacewing 
Yellow Owl-fly
Cloudy-wings Owl-fly
Common Owl-fly
Black Owl-fly
Lyriform Owl-fly 
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Lacewings, Antlions and Owl Flies Biology 

Order Neuroptera

This page contains pictures and information about Biology of Lacewings, Antlions and Owl Flies in Order Neuroptera that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.
The stalked Lacewing eggs 
Lacewings, Antlions and Owl Flies are insects belonged to the Order Neuroptera. Adults  in this insect order have two pairs of transparent wings about the same size.  Their wings are large and membranous with complex vein pattern, although they are not very good flier. Their bodies are long and soft. They have the biting and chewing mouthparts. They are the predators on other insects. Their body size range from very small 5mm to very large 150mm. 
The adults insects have two pairs of lace wings. They have two pairs of large to very large eyes with cerci absent. When fly, they may be mistaken as dragonflies. When rest, their wings fold on their back as a tent-like shape which dragonflies never do. They can also be distinguished by their pair of long to very long antenna while dragonflies' are very short. 
During summer night time, they are sometimes attracted to houses by window lights.

Family Nymphidae

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Lacewings develop in complete metamorphosis, with egg, larvae, pupa and adult states. Most of them lay eggs on leafs or stalks. Eggs are either in rows or in 'U' shaped arrangement. Some species larvae are active predators while some are in parasites forms. Larvae are 3-5 instars stages.
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The stalked eggs                                                                                                                               Larva just hatched        Photo thank to Peter Martin
Females lay eggs in group. The above pictures show two typical types of Lacewings eggs. Notice that the eggs are laid on thin sticks. Lacewing larvae are active predators. Most of them have long mandibles. Eggs laid on thin sticks is believed that it helps to prevent cannibalism. Larvae pupate in a loose cocoon make of silk and usually attached with sand or other materials.

Family Myrmeleontidae

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The famous Antlions are in this order. Antlion is the common name given to the larvae of  those insects. The larvae build sand traps to trap the ants walk by. Above 3rd picture shows the struggling ant in a sand trap. 

Family Chrysopidae

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Larvae in other species are predators hunting on stems and on leaves. They have very long mandibles. Some of them may be covered with prey body or other plant litters on body. 
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We found the above Lacewings Larvae hunting the aphids in our backyard in spring. The next picture shows the Lacewing eggs that we found near by.
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Family Ascalaphidae

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Their eggs are hard and oval, laid in masses around twigs or grass-stalk, number in about 50 to 100.
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1. Insects of Australia, CSIRO, Division of Entomology, Melbourne University Press, 2nd Edition 1991, pp 525.
2. Lacewings - by Charlma Phillips, Forest Health Scientist, Forest Insects, ForestrySA, 1993.
3. Order NEUROPTERA, Ant-lions, Lacewings - Australian Faunal Directory, Australian Biological Resources Study.
4. A revision of the Australian Mantispidae (Insecta : Neuroptera) with a contribution to the classification of the family. I. General and Drepanicinae - KJ Lambkin, Australian Journal of Zoology Supplementary Series 34(116) 1 - 142, 1986.
5. A revision of the Australian Mantispidae (Insecta : Neuroptera) with a contribution to the classification of the family. II.* Calomantispinae and Mantispinae - KJ Lambkin, Australian Journal of Zoology Supplementary Series 34(117) 1 - 113, 1986. 
6. Northern Territory Insects, A Comprehensive Guide CD - Graham Brown, 2009.  

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Home ] [ Lacewings, Antlions and Owl Flies Biology ] Osmylidae ] Mantispidae ] Hemerobiidae ] Chrysopidae ] Nymphidae ] Myrmeleontinae ] Stilbopteryginae ] Ascalaphidae ]


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Last updated: June 10, 2012.