Common green lacewing
We ran a mini-poll recently that highlighted a few of your favourite bugs, and what better way to introduce the first star than through our Bug of the Month. Welcoming to the red (or maybe green) carpet, the Common green lacewing!
Latin name: Chrysoperla carnea
Notable feature: Large golden eyes and lace-like wings
Rarity in the UK: Rare / Common
Where in the UK: Widespread throughout Britain
With their long antennae, golden eyes and 2 pairs of transparent wings that are nearly twice as long as their abdomen, the Common green lacewing stands at 10mm. As their name suggests, these dazzling creatures can be found pretty much everywhere in high volume. They are present almost all year round; however their main appearance is from May-September.
Time for a change
Even though their name suggests they are all green, Common green lacewings do vary in colour and some are striking shades of blue. During the cold winter months, adult lacewings snuggle up and hibernate, mainly in buildings. With the change in season, adults feel it’s time for a change too! Their colour goes from a beautiful shade of green or blue to a yellowish-brown colour, often with red spots on their bodies whilst they overwinter.
Greedy little bugs!
Green lacewing larvae have somewhat of a very large appetite. They feed on a variety of smaller invertebrates such as aphids, insect eggs, caterpillars and scale insects, piercing them with their long sharp mouth parts and sucking out their body fluids. Due to their ferocious , carnivorous appetite the larvae have earnt the title of ‘aphid lions’, eating over 200 aphids and other creepy crawlies per week! Proper little predators! However, when the larvae mature into adults, they lose their carnivorous ways and adopt a more refined diet, feeding off nectar, pollen and honeydew.
Picking up good vibrations
Once adult lacewings have found their special someone, all adults perform a pre-mating ritual known as tremulation. This is a low frequency sound, produced when adults vibrate their abdomens. In turn, these vibrations cause the lacewings perch to vibrate as well.
Both the male and female perform this ritual, taking it in turns to create a duet of buzzing love! Mating cannot take place without this pre-mating performance.
Where do they live?
The Common green lacewing can be found in gardens, fields, hedges and the edge of woodland amongst tall grasses, herbaceous plants, trees and bushes.
Did you know?
The Common green lacewing is one of 18 species of green lacewings to be found in Britain.