Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Walking junkyard

I noticed this little lump on the surface of a broad-leafed ginger.
Then it started to gyrate around on the leaf. Up close it contained bits and pieces of dead material bound together by webbing. Flipping it over revealed the owner.
This is the larva of a Green Lacewing. Green lacewings are members of the order Neuroptera, a large group of more than 6000 species, many of which are quite familiar to you. Green lacewings, like other neuropteroids, are predaceous. This larva uses the camouflage to ambush small insects. The debris is carries around also serves to protect it from predators like birds and lizards. The debris is often composed of the dead bodies of its prey! The larva uses the mandibles to subdue small insects and spiders and then sucks the contents dry. Green Lacewings have been used in the biological control of insects.

1 comment:

Mosura said...

Fascinating. I guess it must come out from under there in order to add to the junk collection.