The jaws of a killer

September 5, 2011 § 2 Comments

It’s easy to forget when you see a delicate looking lacewing that they are in fact a carnivorous species. Even at the larval stage lacewings begin feeding on moth larvae and eggs, aphids, thrips and mites.

Up until these shots I had never spotted any signs of this particular lacewing species. I knew the area and habitat was right, but I had never managed to run across one of these brown lacewings (Micromus tasmaniae). The thought of finding an adult during this season is quite exciting now that it seems realistic! While not the most picturesque of lacewings, it is always good to see something different.

* Please note: Images can be clicked to view larger *

IMG_6313

Brown lacewing larvae (Micromus tasmaniae)
Canon 5D, MPE-65 @ 3.3x, Full flash

The eggs of the brown lacewing are tiny and each is attached individually to the underside of a leaf. If you look at the rear of the larvae in these images, another egg is visible but I’m unsure as to whether this is another brown lacewing egg or not.

A lot of lacewing larvae will actively cover themselves with small pieces of detritus for camouflage, but this particular species prefers to remain unhidden for some reason.

Brown lacewing larvae

Brown lacewing larvae (Micromus tasmaniae)
Canon 5D, MPE-65 @ 4x, Full flash

On an interesting side note, there has been talk of this particular species being trialled as an aphid control agent. I can only imagine what must run through the minds of an aphid colony when they see the formidable mandibles of these larvae approaching. Time will tell how effective the species is, but if it leads to a few extra lacewings around with no environmental impact, then I wont complain!

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§ 2 Responses to The jaws of a killer

  • Lindsay Taylor says:

    An interesting post, Anthony. Good luck with your hunt for an adult. I was fortunate to be able to spend an hour or so with an adult mantid lacewing a week or so back – a bizarre-looking critter. I posted some of the images on FM, if you are interested.

    • Anthony Tancredi says:

      Thank you Lindsay. It’s good to hear that there are mantidflys about already! Always great to see them as they such spectacular little insects. I will head over the FM and have a look at yours.

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