Species Nothochrysa californica - San Francisco Lacewing
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Neuroptera (Antlions, Lacewings, and Allies)
Suborder Hemerobiiformia (Lacewings and Allies)
Family Chrysopidae (Green Lacewings)
Subfamily Nothochrysinae (Basal Green Lacewings)
Species californica (San Francisco Lacewing)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Nothochrysa californica Banks
The red-orange and black color pattern on the head is quite distinctive. The antennae are black, slightly shorter than the wings. The pronotum is relatively long, gradually widening towards posterior end, reddish-brown with narrow, pale, medial and lateral stripes. Abdominal segments are dark with pale apical bands, with the abdominal length shorter than the wings. Wing venation is depicted in Fig. 3 of Adams (1967)
and Fig. 2 of Bickley & MacLeod (1956)
. The very elongate cel im of comparable size to m2 distinguishes this species as well as our Pimachrysa
from all of our genera of Chrysopinae. In the Chrysopinae, im is roughly 1/4 the area of m2.
Detailed descriptions of the adult can be found in Banks (1892)
, MacGillivray (1894)
, and Adams (1967)
...they describe the body ground color as black, but many live individuals have much of the thorax and (especially the sides of the) abdomen dark reddish-brown (or "maroon
Detailed descriptions of each of the three larval instars can be found on pp. 409-416 of Toschi (1965)
, with more info plus high-resolution photos on pp. 9-14 of Tauber & Faulkner (2015)
As of 11/23/19, the southernmost BugGuide post
is from between Cambria and Atascadero in San Luis Obispo County, and among the CA records from the California Academy of Sciences
, the southernmost record is from Gaviota Pass in Santa Barbara County (see here
). There is also a Flickr post from San Marcos Pass
in Santa Barbara County, east (and a tiny bit north) of the Gaviota Pass record. The locality info on the type specimen states "Los Angeles Co." and a Ventura Co. sighting was posted on iNaturalist in 2020
, just west of LA County line.
It appears that currently the easternmost CA record is from Pacific House
in El Dorado County in coniferous habitat on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. All other current CA records appear to occur west of the crests of the coastal ranges.
Mostly found in mesic (= medium moisture/humidity) woodlands or chaparral on the coastal side of main mountain ranges along the western edge of North America from British Columbia to south-central California.
Larvae have been found on Coast Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia) and California Bay Tree (Umbellularia californica).
Like many lacewing larvae, those of N. californica
carry debris on their dorsum as camouflage. This notably tends to include large particles.(2)
Detailed life history info can be found on pp. 426-429 of Toschi (1965)
Out of all species found in our area, the mating behavior of N. californica
is quite unique (though globally shared by members of Nothochrysa
, with similar behavior also found in Hypochrysa
). After mating, both the spermatophore and a yellowish to whitish "mass of frothy, granular material" remain on the female's abdomen. The spermatophore, located at the tip of the abdomen, remains for over an hour while the abdomen pulses, apparently drawing in the spermatozoa over this time. The secondary mass is located on the lateral (dorsolateral?) surface between segments 4 and 7.(3)
Adams, P. A. (1967). A review of the Mesochrysinae and Nothochrysinae (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae). Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard Coll., 135(4):215-238 (Full Text
Banks, Nathan (1892). A synopsis, catalogue, and bibliography of the neuropteroid insects of temperate North America. Trans. Amer. Entomol. Soc., 19:327-373 (Full Text
Bickley, W.E. & E.G. MacLeod (1956). A synopsis of the nearctic Chrysopidae with a key to the genera. Proc. Entomol. Soc. Washington, 58: 177-202. (Full Text
Brooks, S. J. & P. C. Barnard (1990). The green lace wings of the world: a generic review (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae). Bull. Br. Mus. nat. Hist. (Ent.), 59(2):117-286 (Full Text
MacGillivray, A. D. (1894). New species of Nothochrysa
. Canad. Ent. 26:169-171 (Full Text
Tauber, Catherine A. and David K. Faulkner (2015). Pimachrysa
(Neuroptera: Chrysopidae: Nothochrysinae): Larval Description and Support for Generic Relationships,” Psyche, vol. 2015, Article ID 875738, 19 pages. (HTML
...cf. pp. 9-14 for info on larvae of N. californica
Toschi, C. A. (1965). The taxonomy, life histories, and mating behavior of the green lacewings of Strawberry Canyon (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae). Hilgardia, 36(11):391-433 (Full Text
|2.||The green lacewings of the world: a generic review (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae)|
Brooks, S.J. & P.C. Barnard. 1990. Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History) Entomology, 59(2):117-286.
|3.||Debris-Carrying in Larval Chrysopidae: Unraveling Its Evolutionary History|
Catherine A. Tauber, Maurice J. Tauber, & Gilberto S. Albuquerque. 2014. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 107(2):295-314.