Sonoran Desert Neuroptera

Neuroptera are a small order of insects that have four distinct life stages: Egg, Larva, Pupa and Adult. In the larval stage probably all are predacious with characteristic sickle-shaped mandibles. The adults are largely nocturnal in habit and have soft membranous wings with intricate net veining. Some adult forms are predacious while others subsist solely on flower nectar. The adults fly slowly and weakly and are most commonly seen at electric lights.

Green Lacewing


 © by Mike Plagens

Delicate, intricately veined wings, often emerald green. Mostly nocturnal at lights or alighted on vegetation. Larvae eat aphids, etc. More info

Lacewing Larva


 © by Mike Plagens

The Aphid Lion. Small torpedo-shaped, somewhat compressed insect without wings. Eat aphids, etc. and on rare occasion will bite into flesh in search of moisture. More info

Ant Lion


adult of Ant Lion © by Mike Plagens

Delicate, intricately veined wings, largely nocturnal. Drab gray or brown for hiding by day. Conspicuous antennae which dragonflies lack. More info



Mantispidae photo © by Mike Plagens

Delicate-looking insect with a pair of lethal weapons: Raptorial prothoracic legs. More info




Curious insect with an elongated prothorax (neck) and finely veined, membranous wings. More ...

Giant Antlion

Vella fallax

Giant Ant-Lion, Vella

Large, delicate-winged, insects come readily to electric light. Wings have fine network of veins. Antennae elbowed. More ...

Long-tailed Antlion

Clathroneuria coquilletti

Wings mostly clear with the front pair larger. Long slender abdomen. Adults emerge on warm, humid summer nights. More info

Forcep-tailed Antlion


Ant-Lion, Brachynemurus

Infrequently seen and most when they come to electric light. Wings have fine network of veins. Antennae elbowed. More ...

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 4 Sept 2016,
updated 5 Oct. 2018.