Currently viewing the category: "Neuropterans: Lacewings, Antlions, and Owlflies"
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Subject: Beetles in Portugal
Location: Serra da Mamede, Portugal
June 29, 2014 12:39 am
Dear Daniel,
Thank you very much for the identification. At the risk of being greedy, could I also ask you to identify this lovely two tailed fly. Found near a stream in the same area, its wingspan and tails are about two and a half inches long.  What does it use these amazing tails for?
Peter Burrows

Thread-Winged Lacewing

Thread-Winged Lacewing

Hi again Peter,
This is a Thread-winged Lacewing or Ribbon Winged Lacewing,
Nemoptera bipennis.  We are not certain why the wings have evolved to have such delicate tails.

Dear Daniel,
Many thanks for this. It is wonderful to have your expertise available on the internet.
With bets wishes, Peter

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Subject: Why does this dragonfly have clubbed antennae?
Location: Northern Kentucky
June 28, 2014 7:22 pm
Dear Bugman,
After looking for about two hours all over the web, I can’t find an ID for this so I’m typing this request… which probably means I will find the answer five minutes from now…. Anyway, my sons found this dragonfly-like insect on our siding in Kentucky. And I have to brag on them for just a second: they are 5 and 9 and knew that dragonflies don’t normally have “antlers.” It looks like a dragonfly, a moth, and a butterfly had an impossible love child. Dragonfly body/head, hairy, with clubbed antennae. Whuh? P.S. I think I accidentally uploaded the same pic twice.
Signature: Hannah P

Owlfly

Owlfly

Dear Hannah,
You are having identification problems because this is not a Dragonfly.  It is an Owlfly, and it is in the order Neuroptera with Antlions and Lacewings.  Many years ago, the first time we received an image of a colorful Owlfly from Italy, we were quite confused as it seemed to have the characteristics of several different insect orders and families.  It really reminded us of a Skipper because of the antennae and coloration, but we knew that was not correct.

Thanks Bugman,
After asking you about my owlfly, of course I found it this morning. Still, your reply is appreciated. I knew it couldn’t be a dragonfly, but I thought it quite funny that it looked like a dragonfly had eaten a whole butterfly and left the antennae hanging out of his mouth.
I’m glad I didn’t find that Italian Owlfly you linked to me, because much as I like bugs, that thing would’ve freaked me out big time. You ever hear the description of scorpions that goes: “scorpions are what happens when God combines spiders, snakes, and nightmares”? I’m thinking that Italian Owlfly would merit a similar hyperbole.
H

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Subject: Weird bug
Location: Querétaro Querétaro, Mexico
June 6, 2014 4:52 pm
Greetings! I was studying outdoors inside my university campus when I noticed this strange little animal walking on the table I was writing on. This table is located alongside green areas where there is grass, trees and bushes. It is very small, around 2-5 millimeters in length, with its size and color patterns varying depending on the individual. I´ve stumbled across this animal around 6 times between February and May walking on the benches and tables of the green areas.
I also know they bite. The first time I encountered one of these little animals it bewildered me so much that I let it walk on my hand so I could see it more closely. When it reached my index finger it bit me without showing any other signs of aggression. After that incident another one bit me in my arm without me noticing its presence before it bit. The feeling when it bites is comparable to when a mosquito is biting you and it only leaves some itching for some minutes (no skin reddening or weals).
I took every photo indexed here inside my university campus. The one with the green background seems like it is from the same species, but it has some unique characteristics by itself, like haired sides, less pronounced fangs and awesome color patterns.
I have way more photos and even videos of this little creature in case it is needed.
Signature: David Chavarín Flores

Aphid Wolf

Aphid Wolf

Dear David,
These are larval Lacewings, important predatory insects, along with Lady Beetles, in controlling Aphids and other pests that plague gardeners and farmers.  Lacewing Larvae are often called Aphid Wolves.  While we do not have the necessary skills to distinguish one species of Lacewing Larva from another, it seems that your images represent two different species.

Lacewing Larva

Lacewing Larva

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Subject: strange bug
Location: Frederick, MD
May 27, 2014 12:25 am
This big looks like a cross between a stink bug and a potato bug. It’s about the size of a stink bug, and was found in Frederick, MD.
Signature: MARIANNE

Antlion Larva

Antlion Larva

Dear Marianne,
This is the larva of an Antlion, or perhaps of some other Neuropteran, like an Owlfly.  Most Antlion Larvae are sedentary hunters that dig a pit in sandy soil, waiting at the bottom for any prey, ant or otherwise, that stumbles into the pit, falling into the ready mandibles.  Those Antlion Larvae are frequently called Doodlebugs.  Some species of Antlions might have more mobile larvae that hunt.  Your inquiry did not clarify where the larva was found.  Here is a similar looking Antlion Larva that is pictured on BugGuide.

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Subject: Flying harmless thing on my balcony
Location: South – eastern Attica, Greece
May 16, 2014 9:57 am
I have seen many of those things flying around the countryside, but I was always wondering what exactly is that thing. To me as a kid, it was a hybrid of butterfly and mosquito(haha), but when I grew up I realise that this is not possible, so I came up with an other idea. I suspect that this is a kind of “liveloula” (dragonfly).
Signature: I do not understand that question. By the person who will find out what that thing is….

Spoonwing Lacewing

Spoonwing Lacewing

This unusual creature is a Spoonwing Lacewing, possibly Nemoptera bipennis.  Your individual is missing one of its distinctive tails.Hello Daniel,

Thank you very much for your reply. I really appreciate it. Unfortunately this little guy died during the night, for unknown reasons, but at least now I know the name of this beautiful insect. I am sorry about the missing wing/tail I forgot to mention about it, but you figured it out anyway…
Best regards,
Anastasios

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Subject: what is this bug
Location: Tucson, AZ
May 8, 2014 2:07 pm
I’m sitting sitting down just playing on my phone, when I felt this bug crawling on my leg. when I grab it off my leg it felt like it tried to bite me. I tried to take a picture of it, but my camera phone couldn’t zoom in close enough. So I got the best possible picture I could. Help please. I hate not knowing what things are.
Signature: Michael

Aphid Lion

Aphid Lion

Hi Michael,
This is the beneficial larva of a Lacewing, commonly called an Aphid Lion or Aphid Wolf because of the vast quantity of the plant pests a single Aphid Lion can consume.  More interesting information is available on the ACES News website, including “The green lacewing larvae, or aphid lions, have hooked jaws protruding from their heads, making them look more like miniature alligators than lions. As soon they hatch, they begin eating, injecting enzymes into their prey that digest the internal organs. They then suck out the liquidated body fluids. The larvae will eat spider mites, small caterpillars, thrips, mealy bugs, whitefly, and other soft-bodied invertebrates.  Aphid lions will eat for 1 to 2 weeks before pupating in white, round, silken cocoons on concealed parts of the plant. Adult green lacewings emerge and live for 2 to 3 months. Depending on the genus, the insects overwinter in bark crevices or protected locations either as adults or in the pre-pupae stage. They emerge next spring when flowers appear. Depending on temperature and weather, there can be one to four generations per year.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination