Physical characteristics: Spoonwing lacewings are large to medium-size insects measuring approximately .63 inches (16 millimeters) in length, with a wingspan up to 2.16 inches (55 millimeters). The body is long and thick, with relatively broad, rounded forewings. The hind wings are particularly long and slender and are narrower at the base than they are at the tips. The wings are marked with irregular yellow and black bands. At rest the forewings are held over the body, while the hind wings project toward the rear. The larvae are broad and egg-shaped, with short necks and short jaws.
Geographic range: Spoonwing lacewings live throughout Europe and in parts of North Africa along the Mediterranean Sea.
Habitat: They live in forests and open grasslands.
Adult spoonwing lacewings feed at flowers on pollen and nectar. The larvae bury themselves in sand and remain inactive for long periods. (Illustration by Barbara Duperron. Reproduced by permission.)
Diet: Adults feed at flowers on pollen and nectar. The larvae bury themselves in sand and remain inactive for long periods. They actively hunt for prey on the surface of the soil. When an insect approaches, the larvae detect their movement through vibrations in the soil. The larvae approach potential prey slowly and attack, stabbing it with their sharp jaws. They will occasionally eat other spoonwing lacewings.
Behavior and reproduction: Adults are active during the day in late spring. Females lay their eggs in sand. Probably one generation is produced every year.
Spoonwing lacewings and people: This species is not known to impact humans or their activities.
Conservation status: This species is not listed as endangered or threatened. ■
FOR MORE INFORMATION Books:
"Neuroptera (Lacewings)." In The Insects of Australia, edited by CSRIO. 2nd edition. Vol. 1. Carlton, Australia: Melbourne University Press, 1991.
Tavolacci, J., ed. Insects and Spiders of the World. Volume 1: Africanized Bee-Bee Fly. Volume 5: Harvester Ant-Leaf-cutting Ant. Volume 8: Scorpionfly-Stinkbug. New York: Marshall Cavendish, 2003.
The Antlion. http://kaweahoaks.com/html/antlion.htm (accessed on October 13, 2004).
"Green lacewings. Chrysopidae." BioKids. http://www.biokids.umich.edu/ critters/information/Chrysopidae.html (accessed on October 13, 2004).
"Neuroptera. Lacewings, antlions." Ecowatch. http://www.ento.csiro.au/ Ecowatch/Insects_Invertebrates/neuroptera.htm (accessed on October 13, 2004).
Neuroweb. http://neuroptera.com/main.html (accessed on October 13, 2004).
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