10 April 2010

Brown Lacewings - Hemerobiidae

Click image to enlarge

Brown Lacewings - Hemerobiidae

Locally, Brown Lacewings are around 1-1.5 cm (1/2”) in length and tend to be pale brown without any distinguishing marks, making them somewhat innocuous and easily overlooked. Even if noticed, most would not give them a second glance, passing them off as a little brown moth-like insect, but both they and their larvae are ravenous feeders on aphids, mealy bugs and other soft bodied insects that are normally regarded as pests. So Brown Lacewings although not much to look at, are one of the good guys!

According to the Australian Faunal Directory, there are 10 genera in the Hemerobiidae family with a total of 34 Australian species. Like the Green Lacewings, they are far more numerous in the Eastern States, with south Western Australia having only 5 species from 4 genera. Dr TR New in 1988 revised the Australian family in his manuscript ‘A revision of the Australian Hemerobiidae (Insecta : Neuroptera),’ where he described a new genus and 13 new species. No doubt others are now awaiting study.

The described Hemerobiidae species for SW coastal WA are Carobius pedicellatus, Carobius spinosus, Drepanepteryx binocula, Hemerobius tasmaniae and Psychobiella occidentalis, so presumably the photos above would illustrate one or more of these species. Brown Lacewings are often attracted to house lights after light rain on windless nights during the months of March and April.