Lacewings – by Pax

Lacewings are a kind of insect that looks kind of like a dragonfly, but definitely are not. They have long antennae and are about an inch long.  They are attracted to light, like moths, and some even have golden colored eyes. Their scientific name is Chrysoperla rufilabris, meaning green lacewing, even though there are both green and brown lacewings. Some lacewing mothers give off strong odors. Someday, that odor might be able to allow humans to repel ants. 

Lacewing mothers lay their eggs on the end of a string, which can attach to a piece of wood, for example, a roof, or to a plant, like a leaf. The eggs hatch in a couple of weeks. Once eggs hatch, lacewing larvae will eat almost anything they encounter, including their siblings. Some green lacewing mothers can make a compound that both protects their eggs and serves as their offspring’s first meal. After that, they will eat around 200 pests or pest eggs a month, especially aphids and other small insects. In fact, because they eat so much, they are called “aphid lions.” Once the larvae are full grown, they will spin silk cocoons and emerge looking as described above. It takes two to three weeks before they spin cocoons. After they come out of the cocoon, they will live about four to six weeks, depending on the climate.

Brown lacewings have brown eyes and wings, but both green and brown lacewings tend to live in tall grasses, trees, and bushes. They like to hang out on the underside of leaves.       

Their wings are bigger than their body, and taller too. There are both green and brown lacewings.  A lacewing’s large wings helps it avoid bats, one of their predators. Whenever a bat emits sound waves, if the sound waves hit the lacewing’s wings, it bounces off. The lacewings can feel it and know to fly away. All of these adaptations help lacewings survive.