lacewing n : any of two families of gauzy-winged insects (Chrysopidae and Hemerobiidae); larvae feed on insect pests such as aphids [syn: lacewing fly]
- For the obsolete concept of the Neuroptera including alderflies, dobsonflies, fishflies and snakeflies, see Neuropterida.
The adults of this order possess four membranous wings, with the forewings and hindwings about the same size, and with many veins. They have chewing mouthparts, and undergo complete metamorphosis.
Neuropterans first appeared during the Permian Period, and continued to diversify through the Mesozoic Era. During this time several unusually large forms evolved, especially in the extinct family Kalligrammatidae, often referred to as "the butterflies of the Jurassic" due to their large, patterned wings.
Life cycle and ecologyThe larvae of most families are predators. Many chrysopids eat aphids and other pest insects, and have been used for biological control (either from commercial distributors but also abundant and widespread in nature). Larvae in various families cover themselves in debris (sometimes including dead prey insects) as camouflage, taken to an extreme in the ant lions, which bury themselves completely out of sight and ambush prey from "pits" in the soil. 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, there is a pupal stage, generally enclosed in some form of cocoon composed of silk and soil or other debris. Adults of many groups are also predatory, but some do not feed, or consume only nectar.
Taxonomy and systematicsThe understanding of neuropteran phylogeny has vastly improved since the mid-1990s, not the least courtesy of the ever-growing fossil record. In 1995, for example, it was simply known that the Megaloptera and Raphidioptera were not part of the Neuroptera in the strict sense, and the Mantispoidea and part of the Myrmeleontoidea were the only groups that could be confirmed by cladistic analysis. Though the relationships of some families remain to be fully understood, most major lineages of Neuropterida can nowadays be robustly placed in an evolutionary context.
Apart from a few groups that are quite basal or of uncertain position, the net-winged insects can be divided into two suborders, the Myrmeleontiformia and the Hemerobiiformia. The primitive Nevrorthidae, the most ancient group of living neuropterans, are sometimes considered a third suborder Nevrorthiformia or included in the Hemerobiiformia and more specifically in the Osmyloidea. But actually they are better considered a very basal lineage.
- Family Grammosmylidae (fossil)
- Family Osmylitidae (fossil, probably paraphyletic)
- Superfamily Ithonioidea
- Superfamily Osmyloidea
- Superfamily Hemerobioidea
- Family Hemerobiidae: brown lacewings
- Superfamily Coniopterygoidea
- Superfamily Mantispoidea
- Superfamily Nemopteroidea
- Superfamily Myrmeleontoidea
- Family Osmylopsychopidae (fossil)
- Family Nymphitidae (fossil)
- Family Solenoptilidae (fossil, probably paraphyletic)
- Family Brogniartiellidae (fossil)
- Family Nymphidae: split-footed lacewings (includes Myiodactylidae)
- Family Babinskaiidae (fossil)
- Family Myrmeleontidae: antlions (includes Palaeoleontidae)
- Family Ascalaphidae: owlflies, ascalaphids
- (2005): A remarkable kalligrammatid lacewing from the Upper Jurassic of Kazakhstan (Neuroptera: Kalligrammatidae). Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 108(1): 59-62. DOI:10.1660/0022-8443(2005)108[0059:ARKLFT]2.0.CO;2 HTML abstract
- (2005): Evolution of the Insects. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-82149-5
- (2008): Mikko's Phylogeny Archive: Neuroptera. Version of 2008-MAR-11. Retrieved 2008-APR-27.
- (1995): Tree of Life Web Project: Neuroptera. Lacewings, antlions, owlflies, etc.
- (2004): New Lacewings (Neuroptera) from the Terminal Permian and Basal Triassic of Siberia. Paleontological Journal 38(S2): S197-S203. PDF fulltext
lacewing in Catalan: Neuròpter
lacewing in Czech: Síťokřídlí
lacewing in German: Netzflügler
lacewing in Estonian: Võrktiivalised
lacewing in Spanish: Neuroptera
lacewing in Persian: بالتوریها
lacewing in French: Neuroptera
lacewing in Korean: 풀잠자리목
lacewing in Upper Sorbian: Sytkokřidłač
lacewing in Italian: Neuroptera
lacewing in Hebrew: מרושתי כנף
lacewing in Georgian: ბადეფრთიანები
lacewing in Lithuanian: Tinklasparniai
lacewing in Hungarian: Igazi recésszárnyúak
lacewing in Dutch: Netvleugeligen
lacewing in Japanese: アミメカゲロウ目
lacewing in Norwegian: Nettvinger
lacewing in Norwegian Nynorsk: Nettvengjer
lacewing in Polish: Sieciarki
lacewing in Portuguese: Neuroptera
lacewing in Russian: Сетчатокрылые
lacewing in Slovenian: Pravi mrežekrilci
lacewing in Swedish: Nätvingar
lacewing in Chinese: 脈翅目