Neuroptera


This Green Lacewing larva (J: kusakagerou no youchuu) was crawling across our dining room table. I think it came into the house on some vegetables. As you can see, it’s covered in debris, presumably to protect itself. Lacewing larva such as this eat other small insects, especially aphids (J: abura-mushi), so they are useful to gardeners. They are sometimes called “aphid lions”!

I stumbled across these small pits in a sandy area within Uminonakamichi Seaside Park in Fukuoka. I guessed they were ant lion pits, so I dug one up and there it was, the perfect little hidden hunter. What a ferocious-looking creature!

Ant lions wait in the bottoms of their pits and when insects (such as ants) fall in, they grab these and suck out the blood through hollow points in their mandibles. It’s no wonder they are called “ant hell” (ari-jigoku) in Japanese.

I’m planning to go back there in a couple of weeks to see if they’ve grown. Some species grow up to 2cm.

The adults look like dragonflies (see here).

ant lionant lionant lionant lion

Neuroptera: Myrmeleontidae
Ant Lion = usubakagerou

Location: Uminonakamichi Seaside Park (map here)

This adult ant lion had been attracted by the light of a signboard.

Glenuroides japonicusGlenuroides japonicusGlenuroides japonicusGlenuroides japonicus

I found another specimen not far from the first, but I’m not sure whether it is the same species (it looks a little different).

Glenuroides japonicusGlenuroides japonicus

Neuroptera: Myrmeleontidae
Glenuroides japonicus
Ant Lion = hoshi-usubakagerou

Location: In vegetation under lighted signboard near Genkai Royal Hotel (Google map)

This lacewing was sitting in the deep shade under a tree – not ideal conditions for photography!

I found a great site for the identification of Japanese lacewings: site here.
I read some interesting information about the use of lacewing larvae in biological pest control (they eat aphids): info here.
Also, this Wikipedia article about lacewings is fascinating: article here.

Chrysoperla nipponensisChrysoperla nipponensis

Neuroptera:
Chrysoperla nipponensis
= yamato-kusa-kagerou
= green lacewing

Location: In orchards and bamboo/pine forest above Yokoyama Village (Google map)

Antlions (usubakagerou) are so called because their young prey on ants, which they catch by constructing pitfall traps in sandy soil, lying in wait at the bottom with their mandibles open. The adults feed on pollen and nectar. This one flew into my office (in Tagawa) and perched up on the ceiling.

Myrmeleon formicariusMyrmeleon formicarius

Neuroptera: Myrmeleontidae
Myrmeleon formicarius (?) = ko-usubakagerou

My first time to see one of these! I don’t think we have any owlflies in the UK, so it was exciting to find one.

Owlflies look a bit like dragonflies but have long clubbed antennae, hence the name tsuno-tombo (= “horned dragonfly”) in Japanese. The name owlfly comes from the large eyes these insects have. Similarly to dragonflies, they hunt other insects on the wing.

Hybris subjacensHybris subjacensHybris subjacensHybris subjacens

Neuroptera: Ascalaphidae
Hybris subjacens = tsuno-tombo