Minnesota Antlions, Owlflies, Lacewings,
and Mantidflies

Order Neuroptera

Neuroptera is an order of insects that includes antlions, owlflies, dusty wings, lacewings, and mantidflies. They are characterized by soft bodies; four membraneous wings; forewings and hindwings about the same size and shape; no abdominal sensory organs (cerci); mouthparts optimized for chewing; and development through four distinct stages (complete metamorphosis). The larvae have long, sickle-shaped mandibles adapted for piercing a prey’s body and sucking out the juices.

The classification of Neuroptera is not completely resolved. Until recently, the order Neuroptera included alderflies, dobsonflies, fishflies, and snakeflies. These are now treated as three separate orders. There are 37 families currently recognized, 14 of which are known from fossil records only. At least 7 families are found in Minnesota. There are 4,670 surviving species worldwide. Depending on the source, there are 338 (BugGuide,net), 353 (Cedar Creek Insects), or about 400 (Species catalog of the Neuroptera, Megaloptera, and Raphidioptera of America North of Mexico; Penny N.D., Adams P.A., Stange L.A. 1997) species in North America north of Mexico.

common green lacewing





Photo by Alfredo Colon

Recent Additions
Wasp mantidfly

Wasp mantidfly (Climaciella brunnea) is a large wasp mimic. It occurs across the United States, in adjacent Canadian provinces, and in Mexico and Central America. It is widespread but considered scarce.

With its mantid-like front legs wasp mantidfly looks similar to a praying mantis but it is not even closely related. This is an example of convergent evolution, where unrelated organisms, adapting to similar environments, independently evolve similar characteristics. It also looks similar to a paper wasp. This is an example of Batesian mimicry, making it look like another species that is unpalatable or dangerous to potential predators.

Adults emerge in late May through October. Males live less than a week, females up to a month. They can be found on flowers where they wait on and ambush small insects. During her time the female lays up to several thousand eggs. The small white eggs have short stalks and are attached to the underside of plant leaves. After an egg hatches the larva waits for and then attaches itself to a passing wolf spider. When the female wolf spider begins making an egg sac, the mantid larva crawls off the spider and onto the sac. It then gets wrapped up as the egg sac is completed and feeds on the spider eggs inside.

  wasp mantidfly
  Photo by Bill Reynolds
Common green lacewing

Common green lacewing (Chrysoperla carnea) is a 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 (family Chrysopidae).

Adults have a long, slender, pale green body, long antennae, gold or copper-colored eyes, and transparent wings with a network of pale green veins. They are not predacious, feeding on flower nectar and pollen and on aphid honeydew. They are active at night and are attracted to lights. They may emit an unpleasant odor when handled.

Larvae are alligator-like in appearance. They have long, sickle-shaped mandibles and well-developed legs which allow them to move quickly. They are predacious, feeding mostly on aphids but also on many other insect adults, larvae, and eggs.

  common green lacewing
  Photo by Alfredo Colon
Other Recent Additions

green lacewing (Chrysopa spp.)

green lacewing (Family Chrysopidae)

  green lacewing (Family Chrysopidae)
    Photo by Alfredo Colon





This list includes only antlions, owlflies, dusty wings, lacewings, and mantidflies that have been recorded in Minnesota, but not all of the antlions, owlflies, dusty wings, lacewings, and mantidflies found in Minnesota.

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common green lacewing




















green lacewing (Chrysopa sp.)

green lacewing (Family Chrysopidae)

wasp mantidfly


antlion (Brachynemurus abdominalis)


antlion (Brachynemurus nebulosus)


antlion (Brachynemurus signatus)


antlion (Myrmeleon immaculatus)


antlion (Scotoleon nigrilabris)


brown lacewing (Hemerobius stigma)


brown lacewing (Micromus posticus)

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common green lacewing (Chrysoperla carnea)


dustywing (Coniopteryx vicina)


dustywing (Conwentzia hageni)


dustywing (Malacomyza westwoodi)


four-spotted santisfly (Dicromantispa interrupta)


giant lacewing (Polystoechotes punctata)


golden-eyed lacewing (Chrysopa oculata)


green lacewing (Chrysopa bipunctata)


green lacewing (Chrysopa carei)


green lacewing (Chrysopa chi)


green lacewing (Chrysopa chlorophana)


green lacewing (Chrysopa illepida)


green lacewing (Chrysopa lineaticornis)


green lacewing (Chrysopa majuscula)


green lacewing (Chrysopa nigricornis)


green lacewing (Chrysopa separata)

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green lacewing (Chrysopa spp.)


green lacewing (Chrysopa xanthocephala)

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green lacewing (Family Chrysopidae)


humulin brown lacewing (Hemerobius humulinus)


mantidfly (Dicromantispa sayi)


red-lipped lacewing (Chrysoperla rufilabris)


Signoret’s green lacewing (Meleoma signoretti)


spongillafly (Climacia areolaris)


spotted-winged antlion (Dendroleon obsoletus)

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wasp mantidfly (Climaciella brunnea)




No Species Page Yet?

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Created: 1/1/2019

Last Updated:

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