Currently viewing the category: "Neuropterans: Lacewings, Antlions, and Owlflies"

Subject:  Strange bug
Geographic location of the bug:  North Central Mississippi
Date: 07/25/2021
Time: 05:47 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Thank you for ID from your website
How you want your letter signed :  D Castle

Debris Carrying Lacewing Larva

Dear D Castle,
This is a beneficial, predatory Lacewing Larva.  The Debris Carrying Lacewing larvae of some species cover themselves with debris for both camouflage and protection.

Subject:  Weird bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Virginia
Date: 11/05/2019
Time: 03:51 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found this tiny bug outside while rooting through my garage, never seen it before and curious as to what it is. In the picture is the bug with a small paperclip to show size. The season is autumn, early November.
How you want your letter signed:  Curiosity

Lacewing Larva

Dear Curiosity,
This is a Lacewing larva, sometimes called an Aphid Wolf.  Lacewings are one of the most agriculturally important predators because of the large numbers of Aphids and other plant pests that an individual will consume over its lifetime.

Subject:  What in the world?
Geographic location of the bug:  TN
Date: 08/24/2019
Time: 02:07 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi! Just sitting around with my daughter looking out the window and saw this thing crawling outside. I googled 4 ways to upload the picture to identify it I don’t do it often just curious as to what this is. Thank you
How you want your letter signed:  S.

Debris Carrying Lacewing Larva

Dear S.,
This is a Debris Carrying Lacewing larva.  Some Lacewing larva construct shelters constructed of plant refuse, the carcasses of prey and other debris that helps to protect the larva.

Oh my gosh! You are amazing

Subject:  Metallica meets dragonfly or damselfly?
Geographic location of the bug:  Shenandoah Valley VA
Date: 08/09/2019
Time: 10:01 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello. I cannot Google up other photos to help me identify this insect with the body of a dragonfly but wings that fold back. The wings start clear but then end with a bold black and white pattern.
How you want your letter signed:  C in VA

Antlion: Glenurus gratus

Dear C in VA,
Your subject line really caught our attention.  This gorgeous Antlion is
Glenurus gratus, which you can verify on BugGuide.

It’s an ant lion really?! I guess I shouldn’t be surprised given how many “doodlebug” pits there are in the dirt floor of the shed and barn at this property we visited. I’ve just never had the fortune to see an adult. How lucky I am to have had this brief encounter. He? She? is an elegantly gorgeous insect. Thanks for lending me your expertise.

Hi again C in VA,
While you are correct that the larvae of Antlions are commonly called Doodlebugs, and that many Doodlebugs lie in the bottom of sandy pits with only their mandibles exposed waiting for luckless insects to fall in, of
Glenurus gratus according to BugGuide:  “Larvae found in tree holes among sawdust and in burrows of Gopher Tortoise, Gopherus polyphemus.

Subject:  Bug Near Monarch Chrysalides
Geographic location of the bug:  Mahopac, NY
Date: 07/20/2019
Time: 03:28 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello,
This year is my first year raising monarch butterflies. I came across this small brownish-tan bug on the same leaf as a chrysalis in my potted fuschia plant outside. I didn’t think much of it being a potential parasitic predator until I saw it extend its abdomen downward toward the top of the chrysalis. I pinched off the leaf with the chrysalis and brought it indoors, leaving the other bug outside. One day later I saw another one crawling on top of my monarch habitat/chrysalis support. I’m wondering what this insect is, and if it will cause any harm to the butterfly. I’ve read about parasitic wasps and tachinid flies, but nothing like this. I will definitely be raising monarchs indoors next year, but this was an unexpected experience, one that shows how vulnerable these creatures are. The pictures I’ve attached show the bug on the indoor wooden support, another in the plant outside with the chrysalis, and a separate, tainted chrysalis I found had fallen previously in my fuschia plant. I did take the  withered, fallen chrysalis inside (about 5 days ago) and attached it to the support, and am now wondering if the bug I found iside emerged from that chrysalis…
How you want your letter signed:  Emeline

Monarch Chrysalis and Aphid Wolf

Dear Emeline,
The insect in question is a Lacewing Larva, commonly called an Aphid Wolf.  It is a predator, and we cannot entirely discount that it might try to feed off a Monarch chrysalis, but we doubt that possibility.  It most definitely did not emerge from the Chrysalis.  Lacewing Larvae are generally thought of as beneficial in the garden as they eat Aphids and other small insects, and they hatch from an egg that is suspended above the leaf from a silken thread.

Aphid Wolf

Subject:  Doodlebugs in Western WA?
Geographic location of the bug:  Puyallup/Tacoma
Date: 06/26/2019
Time: 11:18 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We recently bought a new home and have found these numerous tiny divots all over the bark in the yard. I did some digging and found the culprit to be, what looks like, doodlebugs. Yet, I read that they seem to live in warmer, sandier climates. Should I be surprised to have found these little guys here? Thanks!
How you want your letter signed:  Shannon BH


Dear Shannon,
This is indeed a larval Antlion or Doodlebug.  Though they are frequently found in sandy soil, that is a generalization.  According to BugGuide data, Antlions are found in all 48 continental United States.