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NC State Extension

Brown Lacewing

  • Common Name: Brown Lacewing
  • General Category: Predator
  • Taxonomic Classification: Neuroptera: Hemerobiidae
  • Scientific Name: Several species


Like green lacewings, brown lacewings are predators of aphids as well as other small, soft-bodied arthropods such as mites, mealybugs and caterpillars. The adults and larvae are always predacious and the larvae are sometimes referred to as aphid lions.

Brown lacewing adult Brown lacewing larva


Review the images for tips on how to identify these predators.


Brown color with wings smaller than green lacewings and semi-transparent net-like wings. Veins on front of forewing are forked, compared to those of green lacewings which are straight. Long, thick antennae. Appear superficially like caddisfly adults, but brown lacewings have shorter legs, well-developed mouthparts, and the forked wing veins.


Narrow, worm-like bodies strongly tapered at both ends. Short, tubular pincer-like jaws.


Unlike green lacewing eggs, brown lacewing eggs are not laid on stalks.

Value in Pest Management

Brown lacewings are not as abundant as green lacewings, but contribute to natural control of aphids and other small soft-bodied insects and insect eggs. They are sold commercially.

Origin and Distribution

Native, throughout North America.

Discover Life – Hemerobiidae

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