Thursday, 15 September 2011

Green Lacewing Larva

Green Lacewing larva on an oak leaf.  Hayes Common, 6 August 2011.
Green Lacewing larva on an oak leaf.  Hayes Common, 6 August 2011.
I was looking at an oak tree and I saw what looked like a little clump of fluff, the size of a fingernail, moving across a leaf. On closer examination it was a small insect, carrying some whitish stuff on its back. At the time I thought it looked like moulted skins.

Whan I got the photos home and looked at them in detail, I saw a very predatory-looking creature with big sharp mandibles. It's the larva of a green Lacewing, though I can't tell which species. They carry the skins of their victims on their backs. I suppose this is camouflage, and it does hide the insect, though it's still clear that something is in there.

I saw three of these in a short space of time, and I haven't spotted any since.  You see particular insects when the conditions are just right for them to come out; they must still be there on other days, just not so apparent.

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