Bordered Brown Lacewing

Fast Facts

Latin name: Megalomus hirtus

Notable feature: Associated with aphids that live on Wood Sage. Similar in appearance to other brown lacewings- this species can be identified by looking at the venation on each fore wing, there is a wide space between the outer edge of the wing and the main vein (known as the humeral vein) on both wings- this space is called the costal space.

Conservation Status: Not Evaluated

Where in the UK: Only found in Scotland in the UK - at Holyrood Park in Edinburgh, at several sites along the coast from Stonehaven down to St Cyrus National Nature Reserve and an individual was recorded on the coast at a site in Sutherland in 2021.

Bordered Brown Lacewing (Megalomus hirtus) © Suzanne Burgess


The Bordered Brown Lacewing (Megalomus hirtus) is, as its name would suggest, a brown lacewing.  It is a native lacewing, measuring about 1cm in length, which is only found in Scotland in the UK.

With a brown body and brown, patterned wings the Bordered Brown Lacewing can be identified by the wide costal space on both fore wings (between the outer edge of the wing and the humeral vein that runs along the length of the wing), which can be seen with a hand lens and with the naked eye. It also has at least five (sometimes six or seven) veins that branch off from the humeral vein. The patterning and hair on its wings and body are not diagnostic features as superficially this species looks similar to other species of brown lacewing in the Hemerobiidae family.

  • Size: Up to 1cm in length
  • Life span:  Typically 1 year
  • Diet: In the UK, this species is thought to have an association with aphids and other insects on Wood Sage growing on rocky exposed slopes. In Europe it may not be confined to this plant but may also be associated with hazels (Corylus species) and other species of plant
  • Reproduction: Females lay eggs individually and on the underside of leaves. They typically overwinter in their cocoons.
  • When to see: Adults have been recorded from June to August, although they may be active earlier and later depending on the local climate. Adults spend most of the day deep amongst vegetation and are unwilling to move, even when disturbed.
  • Population Trend:  Unknown – the Bordered Brown Lacewing is on the Scottish Biodiversity List  
  • Threats: Loss of habitat- they seem to prefer rocky and exposed cliffs along the coast and at Holyrood Park. These are fragile habitats threatened by erosion and encroachment of scrub, in particular Gorse.
  • Fun Fact: There are at least 70 species of lacewing in the UK and at least 31 of these are in the ‘brown family’ called Hemerobiidae.

How you can help: 

Buglife is working to increase awareness of invertebrates and the Bordered Brown Lacewing through specific projects, such as Species on the Edge, and campaigns, but we need your help!

Join a recording scheme and log your finds – send any records/sightings to the Lacewing & Allies Recording Scheme or download theiRecord appand get recording!

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