Psychopsis mimica Newman, 1842
Silky Lacewing
Don Herbison-Evans
( )
Stella Crossley

typical Lacewing larva
(Photo: courtesy of Ellen Reid, Bible Museum, St Arnaud, Victoria)

The larvae of Lacewings look rather like big ants, with huge jaws but with no waist between the thorax and abdomen. They are carnivorous, eating other insects, like caterpillars and aphids. The larvae normally live under the broken bark of trees. They rest by day, and hunt by night. Development can take up to two years.

They pupate in a silk cocoon under the tree bark.

adult Psychopsis mimica in resting position
(Photo: copyright of Uwe Path, Alice Springs, Northern Territory)

Adult Lacewings are not moths or butterflies, but are in a totally different insect order: NEUROPTERA. They have transparent wings, each with a very complex system of veins, and no coloured scales.

The forewings of Psychopsis mimica each have a series of double brown stripes radiating from the tornus to the costa, with reddish-brown blotches at the tornus and near the base. The hindwings each have a dark spot in the middle. In the resting position, the forewings cover the hindwings. The insects have a wingspan of about 5 cms.

(Photo: courtesy of Joan Fearn, Moruya, New South Wales)

The species has been found over much of Australia, including

  • Northern Territory,
  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales,
  • Victoria, and
  • South Australia.

    (Photo: courtesy of Graeme Cocks, Townsville, Queensland)

    Links to
    Other Non-Caterpillars
    Other Non-Moths

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (written 23 July 2013, updated 14 September 2013, 2 October 2013)