Insect logo



Home Who We Are List of Orders References Contact Us

*** Note: KnowYourInsects.org does its best to include correct identifications of insect photos. It’s always possible that we made a mistake, however, so if you see a misidentification, please contact us and we will correct it. Thanks!

Order Neuroptera: lacewings and antlions — Examples

Families represented below:
Chrysopidae (the green lacewings)
Hemerobiidae (the brown lacewings)
Myrmeleontidae (the antlions)
Ascalaphidae (the owlflies)
Mantispidae (the mantisflies)

Chrysopidae (the green lacewings)

Lacewing
Golden-Eyed Lacewing, Chrysopa oculata, family Chrysopidae (the green lacewings).
□ Lacewing is an excellent name for these insects. Their huge, graceful wings do resemble intricately sewn lace.
Photographed and identified by: Jackie Lucier. Location: Ontario, Canada. Date: 21 June 2009.
Lacewing
Golden-Eyed Lacewing, Chrysopa oculata, family Chrysopidae (the green lacewings). Photographed and identified by Clemson University — USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series, Bugwood.org. Date: unknown.
Lacewing
Common Green Lacewing, Chrysoperia carnea, family Chrysopidae (the green lacewings). Photographed and identified by: Jackie Lucier. Location: Ontario, Canada. Date: 11 September 2011.
Lacewing
Common Green Lacewing, Chrysoperia carnea, family Chrysopidae (the green lacewings). Photographed and identified by: Jackie Lucier. Location: Ontario, Canada. Date: 27 September 2007.
Lacewing
Golden-Eyed Lacewing, Chrysopa oculata, family Chrysopidae (the green lacewings).
□ Note the brown striping on the head.
Photographed and identified by: Jackie Lucier. Location: Ontario, Canada. Date: 11 July 2011.
Lacewing
Common Green Lacewing, Chrysoperia carnea, family Chrysopidae (the green lacewings).
□ Compare to the Golden-Eyed Lacewing, and note the difference in brown striping on the head (the Common Green Lacewing lacks the striping).
Photographed and identified by: Jackie Lucier. Location: Ontario, Canada. Date: 10 September 2011.
Add your photo here!
Add your photo here! Lacewing
Common Green Lacewing, Chrysoperia carnea, family Chrysopidae (the green lacewings).
Photographed and identified by: Gail Rowley, Ozark Stream Photography. Location: Texas County, Missouri. Date: 24 August, 2015. Gail says, “ “It was just waking up, on a Little Bluestem stalk, as I recall.”
Lacewing
Common Green Lacewing, larva, Chrysoperia carnea, family Chrysopidae (the green lacewings).
□ Lacewing larvae look very different from the adults! Compare this Common Green Lacewing larva with the adult shown elsewhere on this page.
Photographed and identified by: Jackie Lucier. Location: Ontario, Canada. Date: 27 July 2012.
Lacewing
Common Green Lacewing, larva, Chrysoperia carnea, family Chrysopidae (the green lacewings).
□ Another nice photograph of a lacewing larva — this time from Las Vegas!
Photographed by: Antioco Carrillo. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Date: 28 May 2017. Antioco says, “Found this in our back yard. It pinches and leaves a mark. Seems to be about a centimeter long.
Lacewing larva
Green Lacewing, larva, family Chrysopidae (the green lacewings).
□ This excellent closeup shows the thin and sharp pincers on this 0.25-inch-long (6 mm) larva. It uses them to grab and spear their meal: aphids.
Photographed by: Joe Biczak. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: northwestern New Jersey, USA. Date: 5 August 2017. Joe says, “It was on my pillowcase when I woke up.” That leads him to think it may have travelled with him from the previous day’s trip to Buttermilk Falls, which is part of the Delaware Water Gap near Pennsylvania.
Lacewing larva
Green Lacewing, larva, family Chrysopidae (the green lacewings).
□ The larvae of green lacewings have large pincers, which are visible poking out from the pile of debris that this larva has amassed on its back. These larvae use their pincers to seize prey.
Photographed by: B. Czinski. Identified to family by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Sweetwater Township, Lake County, Michigan. Date: 8 August 2016. B. Czinski says, “We found it climbing up the tent in northern mid-Michigan in the middle of a forest, dry and sandy.”
Lacewing larva
Green Lacewing, larva, family Chrysopidae (the green lacewings).
Photographed by: Shanna Clankie. Identified to family by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: northern Illinois, USA. Date: 11 September, 2017. Shanna says this little critter pinched her. “I jumped and it landed on my shirt where I took the picture.” KnowYourInsects.org applauds Shanna’ composure in taking a photo after getting pinched!
Add your photo here!

Hemerobiidae (the brown lacewings)

Brown Lacewing, Hemerobius humulinus
Brown Lacewing, Hemerobius humulinus, family Hemerobiidae (the brown lacewings).
Photographed by Eric Smith. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Hoover, Alabama, USA. Date: 16 May 2017.
Add your photo here!

Myrmeleontidae (the antlions)

Antlion (Glenurus gratus)
Antlion, Glenurus gratus, family Myrmeleontidae (the antlions).
□ Wow! Look at the beautiful pink/lavender and black tips on the ends of the wings! The larvae of this species actually live in holes in trees, rather than buried in soil as other antlion larvae do. And as their name suggests, they prey on ants.
Photographed by Chris Moore. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Charleston, South Carolina, USA. Date: 14 June 2017. Chris says, “It looks like a cross between a butterfly/moth and dragonfly, but I've never seen a bug with transparent wings with color on end of wings.... My critter-loving daughter, (who) I call Doodlebug, was stumped!”
Antlion (Brachynemurus sackeni)
Antlion, male, Brachynemurus sackeni, family Myrmeleontidae (the antlions).
□ The immature version of this insect is often called a doodlebug, and it looks quite similar to the nymph in the next photo. The curved appendages on the hind end (the “tails”) help distinguish this as a male.
Photographed by Bill Flor. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Los Alamos County, New Mexico, USA. Date: 2 July 2017. Bill describes, “Photographed this insect on the siding of a house under an overhang on its north side.... It’s about an inch or a little more in length.”
Antlion
Antlion, family Myrmeleontidae (the antlions).
□ This is a nymph that makes conical depressions in the sand to capture its prey: ants. Those are some formidable jaws!
Photographed by Bapi Debnath. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Indranagar, Tripura, India. Date: 7 April 2017. Bapi says, “It lives in the dry soil making a short hole, and remains covered by soil.”

Ascalaphidae (the owlflies)

Owlfly
Owlfly, Ululodes spp., family Ascalaphidae (the owlflies).
□ The clubbed antennae and huge eyes are characteristic of the owlflies. This is a particular type of owlfly in the genus Ululodes, probably the Floridanus Owlfly (Ululodes floridanus).
Photographed by Ben Fletcher. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: South of Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Date: 13 September 2016. Ben says it “appeared in the house after a very bad storm.”
Add your photo here! Add your photo here!

Mantispidae (the mantisflies)

Wasp Mantidly
Wasp Mantisfly, Dicromantispa sayi, family Mantispidae (the mantisflies).
□ It has the characteristic wings of this group of insects, but enlarged forelegs more reminescent of a praying mantis!
Photographed and identified by: Jackie Lucier. Location: Ontario, Canada. Date: 26 July 2013.
Wasp Mantidly
Wasp Mantisfly, Dicromantispa sayi, family Mantispidae (the mantisflies). Photographed and identified by: Jackie Lucier. Location: Ontario, Canada. Date: 26 July 2013.
Add your photo here!

I would like to return to the start of this key.



HomeWho We Are List of Orders References Contact Us

Unless noted otherwise, photographs on this website are the property of the photographers and may not be reused without written permission from the photographers. To obtain permission, request it here.

Photos at the top of this website are (from left to right): potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) — photo credit: Scott Bauer, U.S. Department of Agriculture; ebony jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata)— photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; sweat bee (Agapostemon splendens) — photo credit: Natalie Allen and Stephanie Kolski, U.S. Geological Survey; preying mantis, monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), hellgrammite (aka toe biter) larva and eyed click beetle (Alaus oculatus) — photo credit: Leslie Mertz; Halloween pennant (Celithemis eponina) — photo credit: Kay Meng, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Reproduction of material from any KnowYourInsects.org webpages without written permission is strictly prohibited.