|scientific name Chrysoperla carnea |
Herbaceous vegetation in open fields during summer; urban areas in fall and spring.
Adults fly to and from overwintering locations in the fall and spring.
Newer methods of identification are being examined by Henry et al. (2002) to split the formerly described C. carnea into a series of morphologically similar sister species, based mainly on their vibrational courtship songs. Unfortunately, this is not practical for museum specimens or pictures, so morphological characters are based on Stephens' (1835) original description, still accurate for the current concept of C. carnea (Henry et al. 2002). However, it is important to note that work on the phylogeny of this group is still being done, and this description might change as the species limits are better defined. All species overwinter as adults, and C. carnea change to a dark brownish red colour during winter diapause. The head, thorax and abdomen are all rosy-red or flesh-coloured. The legs and antennae are pale yellow. The wings are short, ovate and iridescent, and the venation and stigma are reddish (Stephens, 1835).
The carnea species complex is made up of morphologically similar species that are reproductively isolated by their vibrational songs used in mate selection. They make these songs by vibrating their abdomens, which shakes the substrate they are standing on, and can attract mates within a close range. Males and females of the same species make similar songs, so they can match up their songs before mating. Males and females that make different songs will not match up, which isolates the different species (Henry et al. 2002). Eggs are generally oval in shape, and females lay them solitarily on individual stalks (Canard et al. 1984).
Not of concern.
Larvae are predaceous, and are used as biological control agents for pest aphid species all through the northern hemisphere (Chapman et al. 2006). Before moving back to fields in the spring after winter diapause, adults first feed on pollen from early flowering trees like Acer spp (Henry et al. 2002).
Until recently C. carnea was considered a single Holarctic species distributed across North America, Europe, North Africa and Asia (Chapman et al. 2006). Now this species has been split into a complex of cryptic sibling species, and range limits for the individual species are not yet clear (Henry et al. 2002).
Stephens' original 1835 description of C. carnea was based on a small group of specimens from London and Scotland, which can be found in The Natural History Museum (Henry et al. 2002).
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