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Photo#304594
Oliarces clara, Moth Lacewing - Oliarces clara

Oliarces clara, Moth Lacewing - Oliarces clara
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, San Diego County, California, USA
April 29, 2009
Size: BL about 17 mm
This roach and several others were found dead in the primitive bathroom at Split Mountain. This is real desert! I collected three of them. The body length of the photograph is 17 mm with 23 mm to the wing tip. Another is 23 mm with 27 mm to the wing tip.

The closest match I could find is Eremoblatta subdiaphana in Helfer's How to Know the grasshoppers,.... called the Hairy Desert Cockroach. Notice the hairy head. This species is the only one in the book with obvious hair around the head. But, the key is a front tibia with seven spines at tip. We cannot find this feature. Instead the tibia seems to have spines going up the side. We tried to check this trait on all three specimens, but the legs are curled up underneath and are very difficult to see. BugGuide Photo # 185354 is of the Eremoblatta genus. There seems to be just one species?

Any help will be much appreciated.

Images of this individual: tag all
Oliarces clara, Moth Lacewing - Oliarces clara Oliarces clara, Moth Lacewing - Oliarces clara

#304594 Identification – Oliarces clara
No, not a cockroach, something much better; a new family for BugGuide. This is the moth lacewing Oliarces clara, the only (living) U.S. species of the neuropteran family Ithonidae (though recent phylogenetic work suggests that it may be more closely related to some polystoechotids...). It is known only from southern CA and the adjacent pars of NV and AZ. It has an interesting biology in which adults emerge in mass for a few days each year, mate, then die. The larvae are subterranean and associated with the roots of creosote bush in desert environments. For more on the biology see: Faulkner, D. K. 1990 [1990.??.??]. Current knowledge of the biology of the moth-lacewing Oliarces clara Banks (Insecta: Neuroptera: Ithonidae). Pp. 197-203 in Mansell, M. W.; Aspöck, H. (eds.). Advances in Neuropterology. Proceedings of the Third International Symposium on Neuropterology (3-4 February 1988, Berg en Dal, Kruger National Park, South Africa). South African Department of Agricultural Development, Pretoria. 298 pp [BotN ref#7268]. Congratulations!, with the image of this species, all of the 11 families of living Neuroptera known from the U.S. and Canada are now represented in BugGuide (I was wondering how long it would take for this last family to show up ... :-).

 
Oliarces clara
Thanks so much for confirming this Oliarces clara identification. I suspected it was this huge lacewing when Gordon Snelling menioned Nuroptera and then v belov mentioned lacewing. I found a site about a mass emergence of these moth lacewings in Anza-Borrego this April at http://waynesword.palomar.edu/spalmwash1.htm with wonderful photos. I tried to compare to my photos, but hard to tell if exactly the same. After all, I thought it looked a lot like a Hairy Desert Roach :-)

 
Thank you Lynn (nice addition!) & John (ID & detailed info)
*

some kid of a lacewing -- check Polystoechotidae
roaches keep wings flat on the back overlapping each other, never roof-like

 
Moth Lacewing
As soon as you said lacewing, v belov, I remembered an article by David Faulkner called "Phantom of the Desert: Biology of the little-known moth lacewing" that appeared in the winter 1990 Environment West, a publication of several museums including San Diego Natural History Museum. I looked up the article--and it's this lacewing! Then I googled Oliarces clara and came up with a great source with good photos about a mass emergence this spring at another desert site in Anza-Borrego Desert State park this April: www.waynesword.palomar.edu/spalmwash1.htm.

Thanks so much for your invaluable help in identifying this quite interesting lacewing.

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