Why would I take a photograph of this white fluff? Because it was walking around.
Can you spot the insect?
The "wolf in sheep's clothing" is a lacewing larva. It uses debris to disguise itself, and most of the time the disguise works, unless of course it starts walking.
green lacewing life cycle
brown lacewing larva
Lacewings are pretty common in Arizona and I found another lacewing larva last week. (Check previous posts about the life cycle of lacewings).
This lacewing was walking on the silk cocoon of a moth. You can just see the outline of the pale green moth pupa under the white strands of silk of the cocoon. I think the lacewing larva was trying to get inside, without much luck.
See its long jaws? I think it might be the larva of a brown lacewing, rather than a green lacewing, because it looks a bit different. The brown lacewing adult has brown wings, hence the name. They aren't as fragile-looking as the green lacewing and we tend to find them more often in the colder months.
When we looked for insects today, we found some insect eggs on our lemon leaves. What are they?
Lacewing Life Cycle
Can you see the egg? It is the white oval on the hair-like stalk.
The insect that laid this egg was featured as "Bug of the Week" early on. It is the beautiful green lacewing adult.
The egg has actually hatched, because it is white and the end is open. The lacewing larva that crawled out probably looks something like this on I found on June 18.
When the larva has finished development, it spins a cocoon around itself, forming what looks almost like a spider egg case. In fact, I'm sure a lot of green lacewings are destroyed each year due to mistaken identity.
My son and I found this lacewing cocoon underneath a bird's nest that fell out of a tree last week.
The green lacewing is a beautiful, beneficial insect that goes through a lot of changes during its life cycle.
For more information for kids, try:
Nature Close-Up - Ant Lions and Lacewings by Elaine Pascoe
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