Green Lacewing

Chrysoperla rufilabris and Chrysopa ornata

Copyright, California Academy of Sciences

There are many species of Green Lacewings, and they are very hard to tell apart. Two of the most common are the Common Lacewing (Chrysoperla rufilabris) and the Eastern Green Lacewing (Chrysopa ornata).

Green Lacewings live in fields, gardens, and forest edges. They like to be where they can camouflage with green leaves and stems.

Green Lacewings grow to about 1/2 inch long. Their bodies are pale green or pale yellow. They have gold or copper-colored eyes, and long, thread-like antennae. Lacewings have long, clear wings with green veins.

Copyright, Edward S. Ross

Local Hazardous Waste Management Program, King County

Green Lacewings lay eggs on white stalks, hanging from the bottom of leaves. Larvae (baby lacewings) hatch in a few days.

Lacewing larvae, sometimes called "aphid lions" eat many small insects as they grow. Besides aphids, they eat other small insects, including caterpillars, butterfly eggs, small beetles, scale insects, leafhoppers, thrips, small flies, and other small insects and eggs. They also eat mites, and they sometimes eat each other.

Larvae have large hooked jaws, which they grab their prey with before sucking out the juices. Lacewing larvae are yellowish-gray or brown, and a little bit less than 1/2 inch long.

After two or three weeks of eating, the larvae will make a coccoon (pupa stage) on the bottom of a leaf. In about five days, the adult lacewing leaves its coccoon.

Adult Green Lacewings live for up to six weeks. A females may lay 200 eggs in her lifetime.

Copyright, Baldo Villegas

Ken Gray Slide Collection, Oregon State University, Extension Entomology

Adult Green Lacewings eat pollen and nectar from flowers. They also eat honeydew, a liquid made by aphids and scale insects.

Lacewings sometimes release a bad-smelling fluid when attacked by predators. Some predators of lacewings include birds, bats, and larger insects.

When adults visit flowers for nectar, they may accidentally help pollinate a plant, which helps it to make seeds and spread.

Additional Media

Description
Type
Credit
Green Lacewing's Head Under a Microscope
Link to Image
Uglybug.org

Relationships in Nature:

PREY/FOOD
PREDATORS
SHELTER
OTHER

Giant Willow Aphid

Big Brown Bat

Common Milkweed

Common Milkweed Po FP

Cabbage White

American Goldfinch

Bull Thistle

Bull Thistle Po

Clouded Sulphur

Carolina Chickadee

Black-eyed Susan

Black-eyed Susan Po

Green Lacewing

Brown-headed Cowbird

Common Dandelion

Common Dandelion Po

Common Milkweed

Downy Woodpecker

Spoted Joe-pye Weed

Spotted Joe-pye Weed Po

Queen Anne's Lace

Tufted Titmouse

Queen Anne's Lace

Queen Anne's Lace Po

Black-eyed Susan

Common Whitetail

Red Clover

Red Clover Po

Spoted Joe-pye Weed

Common Yellowthroat

Chicory

Chicory Po

Bull Thistle

Spined Micrathena

Bushy Aster

Goldenrod Po FP

Red Clover

Six-spotted Tiger Beetle

Common Greenshield

Convergent Ladybug Beetle

Fragile Forktail

Virginia Rose

Chicory

Maple Gall Mite

Polyphemus Moth

Oystershell Scale

Goldenrod

Relationship to Humans:

Green Lacewings are extremely helpful to people. They eat huge amounts of pests, including aphids and mites. Some companies even sell lacewing eggs to farmers and gardeners. They cause no harm to people. If you want to attract them to your yard, plant lots of nectar-producing flowers. The adults will come, and if you have pests (food), they will lay eggs.

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

KINGDOM
Animal
PHYLUM
Arthropod
CLASS
Insect
ORDER
Neuroptera
FAMILY
Chrysopidae
GENUS
Chysoperla or Chrysopa
SPECIES
Chrysoperla rufilabris and Chrysopa ornata

QUICK LINKS

Organism Menu
Home
Glossary
Student Activities
Relationships
Classification Info
How to Use This Site
Bibliography