Chrysoperla carnea

Chrysoperla carnea (Stephens)

(As currently understood, this name refers to several similar sibling species, whose separation is based on their specific vibrational courtship songs).

Taxonomic placing: Insecta, Holometabola, Neuroptera, Chrysopidae.

Common name: Ant lion, common green lacewing.

Geographic distribution: The Palearctic.

Morphology: The adults are light-green, about 6 mm long, their dorsum covered by a pale longitudinal stripe. Wings with fine, delicate venation, head with thread-like antennae and bulging, dark eyes. Larvae up to 7-8 mm long, body red-brown with dorsal and lateral pale stripes, each segment with lateral protuberances that carry several strong setae, head grey with a pair of strong pincer-like mandibles.

Life history: The adult feeds on nectar, pollen and honeydew. Females lay several hundred whitish eggs, held on long silky stalks and often placed near hemipteran prey. The emerging larvae feed on the nearby prey or (if unavailable) cannibalistically, later pupating within cocoons. The calculated threshold of development is at 9°C, about 520 day degrees are needed to complete a generation, and 8 annual generations may be raised in the Middle East. The insect, which is an active flier, is susceptible to temperatures above 28°C.

Economic importance: This predator, which mostly feeds on small hemipterans, often Aphidoidea, has been used in the biological control of various pests in many countries, including Egypt, Germany, and Russia. It can consume large numbers of aphids, completely destroying their colonies. Other prey includes spider mites, thrips, iwhiteflies, psyllids and many other soft bodied insects. In cooler regions, where the predator goes into winter hibernation, the provision of hibernation shelters resulted in its earlier emergence and activities.

The predator is commercially available, usually sold as eggs. However, the precise identification of the sources of these eggs is not always clear.

Pesticide effects: Chrysoperla carnea has some natural, but variable, tolerance to several insecticides. Populations tolerant of pyrethroids, organophosphates, and carbamates have been selected in the laboratory. A Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxin had no direct effect on the predator, but resulted, after feeding on Bt-exposed prey, in prolonged development and in a slight decrease in weight.

Natural enemies: The parasitoids Tetrastichus sp. Eulophidae and, Perilampus sp. Perilampidae attacked more than 50 % of C. carnea populations in Israeli cotton fields. Another important parasitoid is a Gelis sp. Ichneumonidae. Together these natural enemies detract from the beneficial controlling activities of C. carnea.


Ashfaq, M. 2011. Chrysoperla Carnea (Chrysopidae, Neuroptera). LAP, Lambert Academic Publishing, pp. 116.

Dutton, A., Klein, H., Romeis, J. and Bigler, F. 2003. Prey-mediated effects of Bacillus thuringiensis spray on the predator Chrysoperla carnea in maize. Biological Control 26: 209–215.

Gerling, D. and Bar, D. 1985. Parasitization of Chrysoperla carnea (Neuroptera, Chrysopidae) in cotton fields of Israel. Entomophaga 30:: 409-414.

Henry, C.S., Brooks, S.J., Johnson, J.B., Mochizuki, A. and Duelli, P. 2014. A new cryptic species of the Chrysoperla carnea group (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae) from western Asia: parallel speciation without ecological adaptation. Systematic Entomology 39: 380–393.

Henry, C.S. and Wells, M.M. 2007. Can what we don’t know about lacewing systematics hurt us? A cautionary tale about mass rearing and release of “_Chrysoperla carnea_” (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae). American Entomologist 53: 42-47.,

Ŝengonca, Ĉ. and Henze, M. 1992. Conservation and enhancement of Chrysoperla carnea (Stephens) (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae) in the field by providing hibernation shelters. Journal of Applied Entomology 114: 497-501.

Tauber, M.J., Tauber, C.A. Daane, K.M. and Hagen. K. S. 2000. Commercialization of predators: recent lessons from green lacewings (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae: Chrysoperla). American Entomologist 46: 26–38.