Tuesday 29 July 2014

The larvae of an Apochrysinid Green Lacewing.

All Insects undergo a set number of moults in their lifetimes, with the phases between these moults known as ‘instars’. Many Insects undergo a dramatic metamorphosis with their final moult, producing an adult instar that bears little resemblance to the larval instars. This can make understanding the life-cycles of Insects difficult, since the larvae often lead very different lifestyles to the adults and may not be readily identifiable. The Apochrysinae are an ancient group of Green Lacewings (Chrysopidae), with  an abundent fossil record but only 25 known living species divided into six genera, of these only the third larval instar of a single Japanese species (Apochrysa matsumurae) has ever been described.

In a paper published in the journal Zootaxa on 10 July 2014, Catherine Tauber of the Department of Entomology at Cornell University and the Department of Entomology & Nematology at the University of California, Davis, describes the larvae of a second Apochrysinid Green Lacewing species, Apochrysa voeltzkowi from the Tsitsikamma National Park in South Africa.

One specimen each of the first and second instars were examined, and two specimens of the third instar. The second instar specimen was judged to be close to moulting, so that its head and body were slightly swollen and distorted. For this reason formal descriptions of only the first and third instars were made.

The first instar (neonate) is about 1.6 mm in length and cream in colour with light brown markings on the head; the rest of the body lacked markings. The eyes protrude sideways, and the mandibles are long, thin and curved.

The first instar larvae of Apochrysa voeltzkowi in dorsal view. Tauber (2014).

The third instar was 7.3-8.9 mm in length with a white body with a grey median line and brown markings. The mandibles were long, thin and curved. This was essentially similar to the third instar larvae of Apochrysa matsumurae, although the latter lacked markings.

The third instar larvae of Apochrysa voeltzkowi in dorsal view. Tauber (2014).

See also…

Silky Lacewings (Psychopsidae) are a group of...

Osmylids (Osmylidae) are a group of Neuropteran Insects with a fossil record dating back to the Early Jurassic and are still in existence today. They appear to have been at their most numerous and diverse in the Middle-Late Jurassic, with a number of lineages...

Snakeflies (Raphidioptera) are a group of carnivorous flying insects related to the Lacewings, Antlions and Alderflies. They have long life cycles, with a number of larval stages, but still feed as adults. Modern Snakeflies...

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