Green Lacewing (deprecated)

Green Lacewing – Family Chrysopidae
Order Neuroptera
– Antlions, Lacewings and Allies / Family Chrysopidae.
Adult Chrysopids have a number of defenses, including one fine stench emitted from special glands. [1]
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Green Lacewing
Order Neuroptera, with about 4,500 described species, makes up only a tiny fraction of the insect kingdom. The Chrysopidae, the largest family within the Neuroptera, consists of approximately 1500 species in 90 genera.

Identification: Soft-bodied insects with shiny, copper-colored eyes, long thread-like antennae, and transparent wings.
Habitat: Common in grass and weeds and on the foliage of trees and shrubs. I find these critters nearly everywhere in the wild.
Food: Some adults are predators, others take liquids such as honeydew, and some take pollen.
Life Cycle: Eggs are characteristically stalked. Larvae are highly predatory, mostly on aphids and are often called aphidlions. The larvae pupate in silken cocoons that are generally attached to the underside of leaves.

Green Lacewing Adult

Adult Green Lacewings have a number of defenses, among them a chemical stench they emit from glands situated in their thorax. One component of the compound is skatole, well known as one of the smelly substances in mammal feces. It is presumed this odor deters predators [1] .

Lacewings face danger when in flight, chiefly from bats and spider webs.  Both male and female Chrysopids are acoustically sensitive to the frequencies used by bats in echolocation, and are able to take evasive action while being pursued.

They also have a strategy for escaping spider webs: they are so light that when they blunder into a web, they often do not create enough vibration to alert the spider. Then, instead of struggling as most insects do, the lacewing carefully works itself out by biting through the strands holding its legs and antennae. Then, when it is stuck only by its wings, the creature become completely immobile, letting gravity do all the work. Slowly, the lacewing will slide downwards out of the web. It is able to do so only because the tiny hairs on the wings prevent the sticky spider silk from actually contacting the wings' surface. [1]

Green Lacewing Larva
Aphid predator extraordinaire: lacewing larva

. These tiny suckers can deliver a nasty pinch that can burn and itch for an hour or more.


  1. Thomas Eisner, Maria Eisner, and Melody Siegler, Secret Weapons: Defenses of Insects, Spiders, Scorpions, and Other Many-Legged Creatures (Belknap Press, 2005)
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