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Garden Allies: Lacewings and Their Kin

Articles: Garden Allies: Lacewings and Their Kin

Eggs ofgreen lacewing (Chrysoperla carnea). Illus: Craig Latker

Delicate Wings, Voracious Appetites
When I was a small child, my father showed me a leaf plucked from the backyard apple tree. Flipped over, it revealed a few trembling inch-long threads, tipped with delicate pearls. I well remember my amazement upon learning that these were the improbable eggs of green lacewings. Years later, in a college entomology course, the instructor held up a leaf bearing similar graceful eggs; before he could say “who knows what kind . . .” I recognized not only the eggs, but my life-long wonder at nature’s backyard marvels.

Variations on a Theme
The order Neuroptera includes green and brown lacewings, dustywings, antlions, owlflies, and mantidflies. Snakeflies are now placed in a separate order, the Raphidioptera, and dobsonflies, fishflies, and alderflies in the Megaloptera. All three orders may be grouped as the superorder Neuropterida. We focus here on the most useful from the gardener’s point of view: the lacewings (green and brown), dustywings, and the snakeflies.

Green lacewing (Chrysopidae) adults are fa...

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Articles: Calochortophilia: A Californian’s Love Affair with a Genus by Katherine Renz

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