An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Green Lacewing Larvae Use Corpses as Camouflage

9-19-13 lacewing larva  232Green lacewings are aptly named for the prominent venation of the adults’ wings. Some species in this insect family even have “ears” in the larger veins that allow them to detect the ultrasonic sounds made by hunting bats. Lacewing larvae and adults are both predators of soft-bodied insects such as aphids. Larval lacewings have long, hollow mandibles with which they puncture prey and suck out the liquefied contents, leaving the woolly husks. Some species of lacewing larvae have hairy backs, and camouflage themselves when in the presence of woolly aphids by sticking aphid husks on these hairs. These “trash packets” camouflage the lacewing larvae from predators, including ants that would otherwise attack the larvae if they recognized that they were lacewings and not woolly aphids.

Naturally Curious is supported by donations. If you choose to contribute, you may go to http://www.naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wordpress.com and click on the yellow “donate” button.

Advertisements

3 responses

  1. Kathie Fiveash

    Spider crabs do a similar thing, but with living sponges, algae, etc. They are slow and a bit defenceless, but spend a lot of time primping, i.e. attaching various sea life to their bodies to camouflage themselves. When we bring one up in a lobster trap and put it in a bucket for observation, it often looks like a crawling terrarium – especially if has been a while since its last molt. I used to keep them in a cold salt water aquarium, and they were so much fun to watch.

    September 19, 2013 at 12:12 pm

  2. Fascinating!

    September 20, 2013 at 1:27 am

  3. Knox Johnson

    Mary, the lacewing camo pack is really cool-never seen it before but will be looking! Knox

    September 22, 2013 at 8:55 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s