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Larvae of some Ithonidae are root feeders, and larvae of Sisyridae are aquatic, and feed on freshwater sponges. A few mantispids are parasites of spider egg sacs. As in other holometabolic orders, the pupal stage is enclosed in some form of cocoon composed of silk and soil or other debris. The pupa eventually cuts its way out of the cocoon with its mandibles, and may even move about for a short while before undergoing the moult to the adult form.

Adults of many groups are also predatory, but some do not feed, or consume only nectar. Beetles , wasps , and some lake flies parasitize neuropteran larvae. Neuropterans first appeared near the end of the Permian period , as shown by fossils of the Permithonidae from the Tunguska basin in Siberia and a similar fauna from Australia. The osmylids are of Jurassic or Early Cretaceous origin and may be the most ancient of the Neuropteran groups. The Ithonidae and the Kalligrammatidae are both found from the Jurassic to Recent, and were both widespread geographically.

Molecular analysis in using mitochondrial rRNA and mitogenomic data places the Neuroptera within the Neuropterida, sister to the Raphidioptera and containing the Megaloptera sister to the rest of the Neuroptera. Raphidioptera snakeflies. Megaloptera alderflies and allies. Osmylidae giant lacewings.

Neuroptera - lacewings, antlions

Hemerobiidae brown lacewings. Ithonidae moth lacewings. Mantispidae mantidflies. Chrysopidae green lacewings. Nymphidae split-footed lacewings. Myrmeleontidae antlions.


Ascalaphidae owlflies. Basal forms. Superfamily Osmyloidea. Suborder Myrmeleontiformia. The use of Neuroptera in biological control of insect pests has been investigated, showing that it is difficult to establish and maintain populations in fields of crops. Five species of Neuroptera are among insect species eaten by humans worldwide.

The New Guinea Highland people claim to be able to maintain a muscular build and great stamina despite their low protein intake as a result of eating insects including Neuroptera. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Lacewing disambiguation.

Engel Evolution of the Insects. Cambridge University Press.

Lacewings, Antlions and Mantispids (Neuroptera)

Shcherbakov Paleontological Journal. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science. American Museum Novitates. Introduction to Insect Biology and Diversity, 2nd ed. Oxford University Press. Most larvae are active predators of small insects which they capture, then suck out their insides. In sandy soil, antlions sit in the base of the pits they construct; they catch small insects, particularly ants, that fall into the pit.

Members of one group of Mantispidae are unusual in that the first instar larvae are parasitic on female spiders; later instars feed on the spider's eggs once the spider has laid them. Ecology Adult lacewings are mostly arboreal, found in trees and shrubs, but some are found on lower vegetation. They are common on native plants, such as flowering eucalypts, in suburban gardens and homes.


Adults are solitary but may group together or swarm during mating. When disturbed they usually fly away or release a strong smelling liquid. They are active during the day or night; some are attracted to light. Because of their diet, some species are beneficial predators of plant-sucking insect pests in agricultural ecosystems.

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Please send feedback and corrections directly to the source. See original regarding copyrights and terms of use. University of Guelph Lucid via Discover Life. Click on images to enlarge. Overview Neuropterans have four membranous wings which ususally contain extensive branching of both the cross veins and longitudinal veins. It is this feature which gives the order its name. Their exoskeleton is not high in chitin and therefore they are soft-bodied insects. They undergo complete metamorphisis. Most of the larvae are predacious. There are ,however, two notable exceptions.

The larvae in the family Sisyridae feed on freshwater sponges and the larvae in the family Mantispidae are parasites of the egg sacs of spiders Borror, Triplehorn, and Johnson The classification system used below is not universal. Some sources will split the order into several.


The order would be split into three: Megaloptera, Neuroptera, and Raphidiodea. Neuroptera is derived from the Greek words "neuron" meaning sinew and "ptera" which means wings. This has developed in modern English to a common reference to the insects of this order. They are refered to as "nerve-wings" or "nerve-winged insects".

However, this common reference is not misleading because the wings of Neuropterans are extensively branched and do, at least superficially, resemble the extensive branching of the neuritic interconections of the central neurvous system. Neuroptera is a diverse order and some of the common names of its members are Alderflies, Dobsonflies, Fishflies, Snakeflies, Lacewings, Antlions, and Owlflies.

Larvae of Megaloptera are important predators in aquatic ecosystems. They also serve as food for fish and other aquatic vertebrates. Lacewing larvae are beneficial as predators of agricultural pests aphids, whiteflies and scale insects.