What Bug Is That? The guide to Australian insect families.

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The biology of most species is unknown, but some subfamilies occur predominantly near streams, and others in drier open forest. Eggs are laid in short rows (of up to 12) on vegetation, tree trunks or stones, and the larvae are long and fusiform, with long tapering straight jaws. They feed on a variety of insects, and the more aquatic ones are believed to probe in mud for larvae of Chironomidae (Diptera). Most species appear to be univoltine, with adults appearing in summer or autumn.


A diverse group of lacewings, united by having 3 ocelli which, however, are not always very distinct. Generally medium to large insects (fore wing length 12-30 mm or more), with the wings often patterned with grey or brown and rather broad. The antennae are usually less than half as long as the fore wing. The female genitalia are typified by an enlarged gonocoxite 9, and 2 spermathecae.


The family occurs over much of the world, but apparently is absent from North America. Australian species have been treated by Kimmins (1940) and New (1983a, b; 1986a, b). Five subfamilies are represented but only 2 are diverse.

  • Kempynus sp. larvae

  • Osmylidae