Moth Lacewing
Psychopsis mimica F. Psychopsidae, Benalla, Victoria). ID Ken Harris.

Their wings may look delicate, even dainty, but these little-known insects are deadly predators (well, to aphids and other soft-bodied insects anyway!). As adults, lacewings can be confused with several other types of insects; it’s really only the green lacewings that look sort of normal. Take the one at left; it looks a little like a moth with plastic wings – called a silky lacewing.

Mantid Fly, Mantid Lacewing (Neuroptera) Campion ?callosus
Mantis Fly (Campion ?callosus)

Lacewing larvae are usually inconspicuous, except off course for the infamous ‘ant lions’, which bear no resemblance to lions at all, other than that they have huge jaws, a fierce disposition and hang-out in an arena waiting for unsuspecting victims.

Yet another local lacewing looks a little like a preying mantis, thanks to the presence of its raptorial front legs. The larvae of Mantis Flies live and feed in the egg-cocoons of spiders!

Though not as numerous as beetles, or spectacular as moths or butterflies, lacewings are fascinating and clearly beneficial insects (a simplistic human concept, really) that deserve a little more attention than just the curiosity-angle of the ant-lion.

Pardon the quality of some of the images, but here are some of the lacewings that I’ve crossed paths with in the last year or so.

Some random information about lacewings: