September 1, 2012

New green lacewing discovered via internet

green_lacewing_lr.jpgNew green lacewing insect found by scientist via a photographer’s website

There are around 2,000 species of lacewing insects around the world but a new one was discovered accidentally on the internet by scientists and studied avidly over the last 12 months.


Found in a wide variety of habitats – from Europe and the USA to tropical forests around the world – green lacewings are attractive green insects with delicate lace-like wings.  The adults of this family feed mainly on nectar and flowers.  The larvae, however, are well known predators of other insects and are commonly used as biological controls for aphids and mites in gardens or greenhouses.  While the lacewings are stunningly beautiful, their larvae are often described as “ferocious” since they frequently carry their prey on their backs after killing them with enormous sucking tube-like jaws.

Interestingly, this new species (of the Semachrysa genus) found in Malaysia with its distinctive wing pattern would have been missed by science if a photographer had not placed several photos of it online last year.  When scientists got in touch with the photographer they were able to capture more specimens and take one to a museum for formal scientific description and reference.  A full report has been published recently in the journal ZooKeys.

Source: Science Daily and the Beneficial Insect Company


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