Chrysoperla carnea

In this entry I am going to talk about a beautiful arthropod that is worth knowing. It is quite common, but on many occasions it goes unnoticed by our eyes.

The green lacewing, Chrysoperla carnea, is a fascinating insect of the family Chrysopidae, widely distributed in different parts of America, Europe and Asia, which has inhabited the Earth for 300 million years, saving itself from the Permian extinction that wiped out 9 of every 10 species. In their larva stage, they appear as ferocious predators of other insects such as aphids, citrus scale insects, red spiders, whiteflies, leafminers, as well as caterpillars, moths, beetle larvae and insect eggs, among others. , serving for the biological control of pests in agriculture, thus avoiding the use of synthetic insecticides and pesticides.

In their adult stage, they are pale green with long antennae and yellowish compound eyes. They have a delicate appearance, with four long, membranous wings of about 6 cm, also green, that are collected on their abdomen. They are not good fliers and have an oscillating flight. They usually live for several months. They feed on nectar, pollen and honeydew that are mainly secreted by aphids and other insects. With the arrival of winter they will bury themselves in the leaf litter until the following spring, when they will emerge to mate.

Serotine bat (Eptesicus serotinus) and lacewing

The lacewing lays more than 400 eggs at night and between the months of February to July. These eggs hang by a sharp thread on the underside of the leaves to protect them from the intense heat, and they do so separately from each other to avoid cannibalism. the larvae at the moment of birth, as they are very voracious. They have powerful jaws in the shape of pincers, with which they capture their victims, who will inject a type of enzymes inside their bodies that will dissolve their internal organs, after which they will suck out the resulting substance.

The larvae in their final stage, around eight millimeters in length, will form a silk cocoon to enter the pupa phase.

Although lacewings are not as admired as other types of insects, such as ladybugs or bees, there is no doubt that they play an important role in the biological control of pests in our fields.

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