Superkingdom Eukaryota
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Arthropoda
Superclass Hexapoda
Class Insecta
Subclass Pterygota
Series Neoptera
Order Neuroptera

Common name(s): lacewings, antlions

Description: Medium in size. Prognathous mouthparts. Compound eyes are large and separated on the head. The prothorax is often larger than the meso- and metathorax. Wings are held roof-like over the abdomen at rest. Fore wings and hind wings are subequal, with numerous cross-veins and distal branching of veins. Cerci are absent. Development is holometabolous.

Fun facts: There are approximately 5000 species known, in 11 to 15 families. Immature stages (larvae) are mostly terrestrial. They are also prognathous, with slender mandibles and maxillae usually forming piercing and/or sucking mouthparts. Larvae have joined legs only on the thorax and lack abdominal legs. The rare mantispid larvae are parasitic on ground spider eggs.

However, there are some species that have aquatic larvae, such as spongillaflies (Sisyridae). Sisyrid larva have elongate stylet-shaped mandibles, filamentous antennae, and paired ventral abdominal gills. The pupa has functional mandibles. Adults are soft-bodied and small. Eggs are laid in trees overhanging running water, and hatching larvae drop into the water, where they seek out and feed upon sponges by sucking out living cells. There are three larval instars with rapid development, and they may be polyvoltine. Pupation takes place in a silken cocoon out of water.

Neuroptera are sometimes included with Raphidioptera and Megaloptera in classification. No matter the nomenclature, the grouping is monophyletic and is a sister group to Coleoptera

sourced, in part, by The Insects: An outline of entomology, second ed. Gullan, P.J. and P.S. Cranston. Blackwell Science, Great Britain, 2000.

Neu*rop"te*ra (?), n. pl. [Nl., fr. gr. nerve + a wing, fr. to fly.] Zool.

An order of hexapod insects having two pairs of large, membranous, net-veined wings. The mouth organs are adapted for chewing. They feed upon other insects, and undergo a complete metamorphosis. The ant-lion, hellgamite, and lacewing fly are examples. Formerly, the name was given to a much more extensive group, including the true Neuroptera and the Pseudoneuroptera.


© Webster 1913.

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