Weeleus acutus

An elegant-looking insect with a fierce sounding name, the antlion lacewing, (Weeleus acutus) is neither an ant nor a lion! Instead, it belongs to an ancient order of insects called Neuroptera.

They have a long grey body, transparent silvery wings and are nocturnal. They are known for holding their wings over their body like a tent when at rest and can look a bit like a slender dragonfly or damselfly.

As larvae, they look completely different. Species of antlion larvae overseas are known to build pitfall traps to catch prey in.

Most adult lacewings throughout the world are predatory hunters and they can be a great help in the garden where they prey on aphids and other pest insects.

Check these links for more info on Antlions in NZ

iNaturalist.nz: Observations of Weelus acutus

Wikipedia: Information on Weelus; Information on Antlions (general)

Radio New Zealand: New Zealand Antlion was Critter of the Week in 2020

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Click on the image to visit the official iNaturalist.nz observation.

iNaturalist.nz image © Lisa Bennett
iNaturalist.nz image © Mathias Michael