Explanation of Names
Hemerobiidae Latreille 1802
>60 spp. in 6 genera in our area(1)
, including 10 spp. in 4 genera in FL(2)
; >600 spp. in ~30 genera worldwide(3)(4)
arranged into 10 subfamilies
Hemerobiidae is the only family of Neuroptera with veins Rs and MA being partially fused (giving the appearance of multiple radial sectors). They are similar to green lacewings (Chrysopidae
) but are smaller (forewing 4-12 mm) Hemerobiidae are more commonly brown in color, but isolated species can also be yellow, green, or black.(5)
The wings are also generally more rounded with the membrane more extensively covered with small hairs.
Overview of Genera by Wing Venation
Hemerobiinae | Megalominae | Microminae | Notiobiellinae |   Sympherobiinae
Hemerobius | Wesmaelius | Megalomus | Micromus | Psectra | Sympherobius
Keys to Species
Keys to species are found in Carpenter (1940) for North America(6)
and MacLeod & Stange (2001) for Florida.(7)
worldwide & throughout North America (more diverse in the west). 36 spp. range into Canada (12 Hemerobius
, 11 Wesmaelius
, 2 Megalomus
, 6 Micromus
, 1 Psectra
, and 4 Sympherobius
Spring to fall, into winter in south.
Adults and larvae predaceous. Homopterans, such as aphids, are favorite prey.
Females attach eggs directly to leaves (not on stalks as the Chrysopidae). Larvae do not carry debris on their backs.
They overwinter as larva, pupa, or adult stages depending on the species. The number of generations per year also depends on the species and climate. (8)
The larvae hunt on lichen-coated tree trunks or on bare branches. When on branches they sew a lichen coat for themselves, stitching it together with silken threads. This silk come from Malpighian tubules that pour their contents into the lacewing's gut and the silk comes out the anus. The spiny bristles on the back impale and secure the lichen coats.(9)
They are prey to parasitoid wasps in the Heloridae family
. The larva will spin their cocoon but only the wasp emerges.(9)
Some Chrysopidae are either tan or have a tan overwintering form, but their wing venation is different:
(MacLeod & Stange 2001-2011)(7)