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

Subject:  Green mantis looking bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Oregon coast
Date: 08/18/2018
Time: 04:19 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Me and my friends have ran into these a few times now. Even though I’ve spent a while looking I can’t figure out what it is.
How you want your letter signed:  Your help is very much appreciated

Green Lacewing

The Green Lacewing is sometimes called a Golden-Eye.

Subject:  What is this bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Ocean City Maryland
Date: 08/14/2018
Time: 09:06 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We saw this insect or bug on a fence post on the dunes August 14, 2018. Do you know what it is
How you want your letter signed:  Dee Lis


Dear Dee,
This is an Antlion in the family Myrmeleontidae.  Larvae are called Doodlebugs.

Subject:  Eggs on a hand
Geographic location of the bug:  Oklahoma  United States
Date: 08/03/2018
Time: 01:00 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:n  A bug laid eggs oon my friend’s hand. Creepy but cool too.  Can you identify the bug egg?
How you want your letter signed:  Lee walker

Lacewing Eggs

Dear Lee,
When we initially read your subject line, we really didn’t have much hope we would be of any assistance, however, the eggs of Lacewings are so distinctive, we had no trouble.  The Lacewing has adapted to lay its egg on a stalk so that when each egg hatches, the larval Lacewing, commonly called an Aphid Wolf, it has to crawl down the stalk before it can begin to forage for prey.  Lacewing larvae have ferocious appetites and they will eat any small creature they encounter.  This adaptation helps to prevent cannibalism.  We are curious though, how this managed to happen without your friend noticing the insect, because no description of the Lacewing is included in your request.

Subject:  Smart Tail
Geographic location of the bug:  Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania
Date: 07/31/2018
Time: 03:13 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi Bugman,
I have a pepper plant that some aphids infested. I took it outside in hopes of some ladybugs would predate them. I checked on the plant the next day, and the aphids were still there, but very docile.  I also noticed this weird bug on the bottom with the aphids.  It didn’t move at all when I turned the leaf over and examined it. I then pinched the leaf off the plant and placed the leaf on the porch to examine the bug better. It then moved very, VERY quickly to the top of the leaf, which was now facing the porch and therefore shady. I flipped the leaf over again, and the bug continuously sought shade.  It used its tail-abdomen in a very intellectual way; it seemed like it used its tail the way a monkey would, to grasp and hold onto things. It had six paper-thin legs and surprisingly long pincer-like mouthparts.  Its body appeared translucent and the colors are actually the organs. I think it may be the larval stage of some insect. It was about three aphids in length.  I didn’t want to capture it and possibly kill an unknown species, so I returned the leaf to the pot and rested it on the edge. I examined the plant the next day and all the aphids were gone, as well as the unknown bug. I don’t want to assume that the bug ate all the aphids, but something definitely ate everything because there was nothing left. I have not seen any aphids on the plant since nor have I seen this weird little guy.  Can you help me out in identifying this bug?
How you want your letter signed:  Kayla

Aphid Wolf

Dear Kayla,
Your observations and deductions are fascinating.  Your assumption that this Lacewing Larva, commonly called an Aphid Wolf, ate the Aphids is most likely correct.  Though Lady Beetles are most commonly thought of as Aphid predators, Lacewings, both adult and larval, and Flower Fly larvae are probably more effective at controlling Aphids.

Lacewing Larva (right side) with Aphids

Subject:  Possibly a female Eastern Dobson fly ?
Geographic location of the bug:  Virginia – Northern VA rainy night
Date: 07/21/2018
Time: 11:40 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This seems to match the female Eastern dobson fly photos best, if the wing patterns can be variable and the lovely orange middle part to the antenna is permissible, except the mouth parts are not quite as large as usually shown on female dobson flies (I could not get a good mouth photo as she was so tight to the concrete and fidgety) and she was under two inches which seems small except it’s likely posted photos are often the exceptional and impressive individuals (thus the prevalence of male dobson photos)… so what bothers me is Mainly the abdomen seems much longer and somewhat more slender than any of the dobson photos. That last detail has me concerned that it’s some closely related insect and not exactly a dobson. Relative body length seems to be a somewhat odd thing to have be so variable… Thank you so much for the time and attention that goes into this entire web site. It’s super helpful and always fascinating!
How you want your letter signed:  My insect collection is all photos


This is an Antlion, not a female Dobsonfly and we believe we have identified it as a Spotted Winged Antlion, Dendroleon obsoletus, thanks to images on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide: “Large, with black circular spots on wings–distinctive in much of range. Antennae slightly clubbed, with pointed tips, often (or always?) pinkish in the middle (based on photos in the guide)” and “Adults often come to lights.”  Because of your image based insect collection (which we are guessing is a class project) we are tagging your submission with the Bug Humanitarian Award.  We have gotten both praise and grief in the past for not identifying some requests because we believe students need to learn to do research, but since your submission contained an actual attempt at identification, we have relaxed our policy on doing homework.

Wow! Thank you! I really was off… No, my image based bug collection is Not a “class project” – I’m 63 and although life can certainly include (and really should) prolonged or never-ending education, I’m not enrolled in any college classes anymore. I just like bugs – you can relate no doubt! I do carry spiders outside and never squish a smaller critter, but my award is undeserved in this case, not being a student (except life-long)…
Wanted to be an entomologist when I was a kid, became a psychologist, and yet I still love the insect types of “buggies”… Again, many thanks for the correction and I’ll make that correction on my photo title.


Subject:  1/4 inch stinging bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Hatfield, AT, USA
Date: 07/17/2018
Time: 09:16 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  My grandmother was stung by this bug one day while sitting outside. She asked me to identify it but I found nothing about it.
How you want your letter signed:  Logan S.

Lacewing Larva

Dear Logan,
This is a Lacewing Larva, and Lacewings are considered beneficial insects that eat many plant eating insects, including Aphids.  Lacewing Larvas are sometimes called Aphid Wolves.  We get a fair share of inquiries about Aphid Wolves biting humans, and the reaction to the bite varies with the individual.  We don’t understand your location.  AT is not the abbreviation of any state in the USA.  Are you in Arkansas?