Sunday, October 25, 2009
Sunday Spinelessness - lacewings
My sciblogs scibling Fabiana dedicates one post a week to celebrating important new findings, furthering the cause of Open Access science and other such important stuff. Me? I like weird invertebrates. So, starting today you can tune in here on Sunday morning and see some photos from the other 95% of the animal kingdom.
I found the subject of the first edition of Sunday Spinelessness in our living room, hanging out on a bunch of flowers I'd brought inside. It's a brown lacewing, probably the introduced species Micromus tasmaniae. Lacewings are part of one of the slightly less familiar insect Orders - the Neuroptera which are named after their net-like wings. I could have used these photos to illustrate my piece on Danial Williamson's crazy ideas because the Neuroptera are one of the groups that undergoes complete metamorphosis. As a larva our lacewing probably dined out on the the aphids that seem to love the our tulip flowers (if I ever take a decent photo of the aphids you'll see it here). Unusually, the adult lacewing above is probably making its living in much the same way - the prevention of intergenerational competition is often cited as one of the advantages of complex lifecycles but a lot of lacewings species are carnivorous as larvae and adults.
Other Neuropterans include the freaky looking mantidflies the fearful antlions (which, along with New Zealand's glow worms are among the very few animals with a common name that refers to the larval form) and more than a few beautiful species like this one photographed by Isidro Martiniez