Lacewing Larva

Week 25th - 31st March

Last weeks "can you name this creature?" image was supplied by Molly, who is ten years old.  Molly spotted this in her garden and, with the help of her Dad, Michael at Nature Learn, has shared it with me for this slot.  A big thanks to Molly!!

Lacewing larva - photo credit Michael and Molly Bell

So did anyone guess what creature this is? 

It is a LACEWING LARVA!  A hard one this week I know, but we did give you some good clues!
I thought Molly did particularly well to spot this little guy as they only grow to between four to seven mm in length!

So now you know what it is do you want to learn some more?

These lacewing larva are a welcome addition to any garden as they like to dine on soft bodied insects, particularly aphids!  They like to hang out in humid environments and can be a great gardening aid to any greenhouse or poly tunnel!  They also feast on the eggs of certain other insects and spiders, as well as mites and mealy bugs.  All in all a real asset to the garden!

Although the larva stage does not last more than two to three weeks these little guys certainly have a big appetite .... consuming up to 600 aphids during this period.  The larva must make direct contact with it's prey... injecting digestive enzymes into it and sucking back up the digested body parts once the enzymes have done their work!

Lacewing larvae are also experts in the art of camouflage, they often cover their bodies in debris to hide them from predators.  This debris often includes bits of body parts from their own prey!



 

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