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Genus Chrysoperla - Common Green Lacewings

Green Lacewing - Chrysoperla rufilabris Lacewing - Chrysoperla rufilabris Lacewing - Chrysoperla Lacewing Larva? - Chrysoperla Neuroptera - Chrysoperla plorabunda Lacewing - Chrysoperla rufilabris resting on my door - Chrysoperla insect - Chrysoperla rufilabris
Classification
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 Chrysopinae (Typical Green Lacewings)
Tribe Chrysopini
Genus Chrysoperla (Common Green Lacewings)
Other Common Names
Common Streak-backed Green Lacewings (a possible name suggestion to help in field identification)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Species were formerly placed in Chrysopa.
Explanation of Names
Chrysoperla Steinmann 1964
from the root chryso- (referring to green lacewings) + the Latin perla ('pearly')
from the genus Chrysopa, derived from the Latin chrys-, after the ancient Greek χρυσός‎, ('gold') + ōps ('face'), referring to the family's golden eyes
Numbers
8 spp. in our area(1), 4 spp. range into Canada(1); 10 in North America (2)
4 spp. in the carnea-group (rounded hind wingtips, often 2 marks on the gena)
4 spp. in the pudica-group (pointed hind wingtips, often a single mark on the gena)

An additional 2 spp. in the carnea-group are recently reported, based on courtship song analysis, with such highly restricted ranges as to barely occur in our area:
C. agilis (c. AK)(3)
C. zastrowi sillemi (desert southwest CA)(4)
Identification
Chrysoperla have the following combination: cell im not overlapped by cell r2; clypeus unmarked; clypeus unmarked apart from maybe directly adjacent to the genae; head generally either the body's base green, a paler green, or yellow-green in species that overlap Chrysopodes collaris. Chrysoperla is the most widespread genus with a pale stripe along its body length. There are a small number of restricted genera that share this trait (refer to the See also section below).


The following keys are adapted from Brooks (1994) to apply to our 8 species. Note that "C. plorabunda Fitch species group" refers to members of C. adamsi, (possibly certain C. downesi), C. johnsoni, and C. plorabunda that are not distinguished from each other and absolutely require song analysis.(5)(6) These keys do not include a treatment for C. adamsi

Note: keying species under microscopy involves, in part, dissection of male genitalia to determine the presence or absence of spinellae. While this is one of the strongest traits in defining the species groups, the combination of the other two traits will often suffice for photography.

Key to Adults Version 1
This key does not divide the species into species groups. The ordering used is as presented by Brooks but merely modified to remove species not found in our range. Note, however, that this arrangement occasionally places members of different species groups at a node despite being less similar than to other members of the genus. There is also difficulty in that the tenuous nature of identifying members from the carnea group apart from courtship song analysis is less evident as a result.

1a. Wing cross-veins and gradates green ..................................................................................... 2
1b. Wing cross-veins and/or gradates grayish ............................................................................... 6

2a. Base of claw undilated or only slightly swollen ......................................................................... harrisii Fitch
2b. Base of claw with distinct step-like dilation, at least one-quarter length of claw hook .................... 3

3a. Basal dilation of claw large, at least half length of claw hook, pronotum and vertex unmarked ....... comanche Banks
3b. Basal dilation of claw small, distinctly less than half length of claw hook ...................................... 4

4a. Gena with red stripe; red post-ocular spot present; ♂️: spinellae present ..................................... externa Hagen
4b. Gena with dark stripe overlaid with red; post-ocular spot present or absent; ♂️: spinellae absent .... 5

5a. Basal dilation of claw one-quarter or less length of claw hook .................................................... downesi Smith (in part)
5b. Basal dilation of claw more than third length of claw hook.......................................................... plorabunda Fitch species subgroup (unconsolidated)

6a. Gena entirely red; post-ocular spot absent .............................................................................. rufilabris Burmeister
6b. Gena marked brown spot with red overlay; post-ocular spot occasionally present ......................... johnsoni Henry, Wells & Pupedis (in part)


Key to Adults Version 2
This key begins by dividing the species into species groups. The applicable nodes have been rearranged from the original Brooks key by J. Hoskins for use by BugGuide. As arranged in this manner, note that the relative ease of identifying members of the pudica group strongly contrasts the tenuous nature of identifying members of the carnea group using morphology and coloration. Members of the carnea group are often only reliably separated through analysis of their courtship song; as such, it may be necessary to consider nodes 5 and 6 as exceptions rather than rules.

1a. Hind wingtips more pointed; genae often with a single stripe; ♂️: spinellae present ...................... 2 (pudica group)
1b. Hind wingtips more rounded; genae often with two stripes; ♂️: spinellae absent .......................... 5 (carnea group)

2a. Wing cross-veins and gradates black; gena entirely red ............................................................ rufilabris Burmeister
2b. Wing cross-veins and gradates green; genae with red stripe or entirely red ................................ 3

3a. Base of claw undilated or only slightly swollen ......................................................................... harrisii Fitch
3b. Base of claw with distinct step-like dilation, at least one-quarter length of claw hook .................... 4

4a. Basal dilation of claw large, at least half length of claw hook, pronotum and vertex unmarked ....... comanche Banks
4b. Basal dilation of claw small, less than half length of claw hook, pronotum with red lateral stripes ... externa Hagen

5a. Wing vein gradates grayish; post-ocular spot occasionally present .............................................. johnsoni Henry, Wells & Pupedis (in part)
5b. Wing vein gradates green; post-ocular mark variable ................................................................ 6

6a. Basal dilation of claw one-quarter or less length of claw hook; post-ocular mark often present ....... downesi Smith (in part)
6b. Basal dilation of claw more than third length of claw hook; post-ocular absent ............................. plorabunda Fitch species subgroup (unconsolidated)


Key to Larvae (Third Instar)
The following key to larvae is adapted from Tauber (1974).(7) As with adults, attempts to separate species of the carnea group should be approached with extreme caution. This key does not include a treatment for either C. adamsi or C. johnsoni.

1a. Head capsule with a single pair of longitudinal stripes ................................................................. 2
1b. Head capsule with anteriomedian marking in addition to paired markings ...................................... 5

2a. Head markings basally widened, contacting at least the basal half of the dorsal cervical margin ........ 3
2b. Head markings of uniform width, not contacting at least the basal half of the dorsal cervical margin .. 4

3a. Tibiae pale with at most narrow basal margin light brown; head markings lighter than mandibles ..... downesi Smith (in part)
3b. Tibiae with basal third dark brown; head markings of variable lightness/darkness ........................... plorabunda Fitch species subgroup (unconsolidated)

4a. Head markings with smooth margins and bent laterally toward mandibles; legs usually entirely dark .rufilabris Burmeister
4b. Head markings with irregular margins and bent medially; legs pale with dark banding ..................... harrisii Fitch

5a. Anteromedian mark on the head not forked; paired markings as narrow stripes ............................. comanche Banks
5b. Anteromedian mark on the head posteriorly forked; paired markings broad and forked .................... externa Hagen
Range
Worldwide and throughout NA(2)(1)
Habitat
Cotton, sweet corn, potatoes, cole crops, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, asparagus, leafy greens, apples, strawberries, and other crops infested by aphids.
Food
Larvae are active predators of aphids and other species. Adults feed only on nectar, pollen, and aphid honeydew.
Life Cycle

Pupa
Remarks
"Chrysoperla carnea does not occur in North America. It is a European member of a sibling species complex that contains several other species in North America. Some of the members of this complex are only differentiable on the basis of 'songs' (abdominal tremulation patterns), and are not distinguishable on any known morphological grounds." (J.D. Oswald)
See Also
Several genera have members with a pale streak down the body.

Chrysopodes: cell im distinctly overlapped by cell r2; clypeus with red lineations (sinistrodextral) as a highly unique trait; head and streak down the body normally distinctly white with very stark contrast to the main body color; body somewhat more robust. Range: TX & FL


Kymachrysa: cell im distinctly overlapped by cell r2; distinguished from other genera by its sinuate longitudinal veins; genae usually with a pair of narrow red stripes; vertex often with paired red marks; streak down the body generally bordered with small red-brown spots


Meleoma: cell im overlapped by cell r2; distinguished by its long, straight-sided, broadly-spaced antennal pedicels. M. emuncta in particular has a similar pale streak down the body but can additionally be separated on the single black stripe on the gena, lacking any red streaks. Range: widespread but comparatively less common


Nacarina: distinguished as a member of Belanopterygini by its significantly larger eyes and very short prothorax. Range: NC & FL
Internet References
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.
2.Kymachrysa, a new genus of Nearctic green lacewings (Neuroptera, Chrysopidae, Chrysopini)
Tauber C.A., Garland J.A. 2014. ZooKeys 437: 87-108.
3.Song Analysis Reveals a Permanent Population of the Mediterranean Lacewing Chrysoperla agilis (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae) Living i
Charles S. Henry, Stephen J. Brooks, James B. Johnson, Marta M. Wells, & Peter Duelli. 2011. Annals of the Entomological Society of America, Vol. 104, no. 4, pp. 649-657.
4.Confirming World-wide Distribution of an Agriculturally Important Lacewing, Chrysoperla zastrowi sillemi, …
Zoe Mandese (under Charles S. Henrey and Chris Simon). 2018. University of Connecticut.
5.A taxonomic review of the common green lacewing genus Chrysoperla
Brooks SJ. 1994. Bull. Br. nat. Hist. (Ent.) 63(2): 137-210 .
6.Hidden Taxonomic Diversity within Chrysoperla plorabunda (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae): Two New Species Based on Courtship Songs
Henry, C.S.; Wells M.[L.]M.; Pupedis, R.J. 1993. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 86:1-13.
7.Systematics of North American chrysopid larvae: Chrysopa carnea group (Neuroptera)
Catherine A. Tauber. 1974. The Canadian Entomologist 106(11).
8.Biological control: A guide to natural enemies in North America