weeping green lacewing

(Chrysoperla plorabunda)

Conservation Status
weeping green lacewing
Photo by Alfredo Colon
  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNR - Unranked


not listed


Weeping green lacewing is a widespread, very common, medium-sized, net-winged insect. It occurs in Europe, Asia, North Africa, and North and South America. True to its common name, it is the most common green lacewing worldwide. This is one of four species in the Chrysoperla carnea group that can be reliably separated only by an analysis of their courtship song. However, Chrysoperla plorabunda is the only member of the group that occurs in the Midwest.

Adults are ½ to ¾ long and have a wingspan of to 1¼. The body is long and slender, and has a delicate appearance. The thorax and abdomen are pale green and often have a thin, pale yellow stripe above. The antennae are long and thread-like. The compound eyes are gold or copper-colored. On the side of the face (gena) below each compound eye there are two stripes, a reddish stripe above and a dark stripe below.

The wings are transparent with a network of pale green veins. The forewing and hindwing are the same size and shape. The subcostal vein (Sc) is not fused with the anterior branch of the radial vein (R1) at the wing tip. The costal cross-veins are not forked. The wings are held roof-like over the body when at rest.

Third stage (instar) larvae are alligator-like in appearance, ¼ to 5 16 long, and have long, sickle-shaped mandibles. They have well-developed legs which allow them to move quickly.




Total Length: ½ to ¾

Wingspan: to 1¼


Similar Species


Open areas: meadows, agricultural crops, and human houses




Two or three generations per year: spring to autumn




Adults are nocturnal, active from sunset to sunrise. They are attracted to lights. They may emit an unpleasant odor when handled.


Life Cycle


Overwintering adults become active in the spring. The female lays eggs singly on foliage. She can lay two to five eggs per day and several hundred over her lifetime. The eggs are oval, pale green, and held at the end of long, slender stalks. They hatch in three to six days and the larvae pass through three instars in two to three weeks. They pupate in a silk, pea-shaped cocoon. Adults emerge in ten days to two weeks. There are at least two or three generations per year. In the fall, adults of the last generation become straw-colored. They group together in leaf litter usually at the edge of a field and enter a state of suspended development (diapause).


Larva Food


Mostly aphids, but also many species of insects and arachnids, including adult aphids, spider mites, thrips, and whiteflies; eggs of leafhoppers, moths, and leafminers; and larvae of butterflies, moths, and beetles.


Adult Food


Flower nectar and pollen, and aphid honeydew


Distribution Map



24, 29, 30, 82.




Very common



Neuroptera (antlions, owlflies, lacewings, mantidflies and allies)  


Hemerobiiformia (lacewings, mantidflies and allies)  


Chrysopidae (green lacewings)  


Chrysopinae (typical green lacewings)  




Chrysoperla (common green lacewings)  
  Group Chrysoperla carnea group (common green lacewings)  



Chrysopa californica


Common Names


weeping green lacewing












On insects: The area between the compound eye and the mandible; the cheek. On birds: The area between the the angle of the jaw and the bill; the feathered side (outside) of the under mandible. Plural: genae.



The developmental stage of arthropods between each molt; in insects, the developmental stage of the larvae or nymph.






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Alfredo Colon

    weeping green lacewing   weeping green lacewing  
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  Alfredo Colon

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

weeping green lacewing

Alfredo Colon

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

weeping green lacewing

MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings






Created: 4/19/2021

Last Updated:

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