Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Upcoming Events

BugGuide is a National Moth Week Partner. How to add your National Moth Week 2021 photos. July 17-25.

Photos of insects and people from the Spring 2021 gathering in Louisiana, April 28-May 2

National Moth Week 2020 photos of insects and people.

Photos of insects and people from the 2019 BugGuide Gathering in Louisiana, July 25-27

Discussion, insects and people from the 2018 gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Photos of insects and people from the 2013 gathering in Arizona, July 25-28

Previous events


Species Nothochrysa californica - San Francisco Lacewing

Lacewing, San Francisco Lacewing (Nothochrysa californica)? - Nothochrysa californica Unidentified Lacewing ? - Nothochrysa californica - female Unidentified Lacewing (F)? - Nothochrysa californica - female neuroptera - Nothochrysa californica some kind of lacewing? - Nothochrysa californica It has clear wings...  - Nothochrysa californica Brown Lacewing - Nothochrysa californica San Francisco Lacewing w/ unstable diagnostic wing venation character - Nothochrysa californica
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)
Genus Nothochrysa
Species californica (San Francisco Lacewing)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Nothochrysa californica Banks 1892
The red & black color pattern on the head is quite distinctive:
Antennae black, slightly shorter than the wings. Pronotum relatively long, gradually widening towards posterior end, reddish-brown with narrow, pale, medial and lateral stripes. Abdominal segments dark with pale apical bands. Abdomen shorter than the wings. Wing venation dipicted in Fig. 3 of Adams(1967) and Fig. 2 of Bickley & MacLeod(1956) (though note that minor variation can occur in wing venation patterns in neuropterans).
Detailed descriptions of the adult can be read 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).
Life Cycle
Like many lacewing larvae, those of N. californica carry "debris" on their dorsum as camouflage. Detailed life history info can be found on pp. 426-429 of Toschi(1965).
Banks's orignal 1892 description can be read at this link.
Print References
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 or 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)
Works Cited
1.Species catalog of the Neuroptera, Megaloptera, and Raphidioptera of America North of Mexico
Penny N.D., Adams P.A., Stange L.A. 1997. Proc. Calif. Acad. Sci. 50: 39-114.