Aphid Lion

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.”

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