Lacewings and Allies Overview

Key Information

Lancashire and Cheshire Recorder: Steve Garland
Lancashire and Cheshire iRecord Verifier:Steve Garland
National Recording Scheme Organiser:Colin Plant (
No. British Species:c.70
No. Lancashire and Cheshire Species:>40
Ave. No. Records Submitted Per Year:<100
NW Atlases:None
NW Checklists:

Hull, M. (1987) Check List of the Neuroptoidea of Lancashire & Cheshire.  Journal of the Lancashire and Cheshire Entomological Society. 110, pp.66.  Basic county checklist with pre and post 1970 split. Go to document

Brindle, A. (1972) The Lacewing-Flies of Lancashire and Cheshire. Lancashire and Cheshire Fauna Society Committee, 61; pp.25-32. Checklist with no dates, but localities and abundance notes.
Websites:National Scheme:
Identification Keys:Plant, Colin (1997) A key to the adults of British Lacewings and their allies. Field Studies Council.
Data Access Via NBN Atlas:Open data but 20 years out of date (records up to March 1999) - see Data access via NBN Atlas page for updates>

An Overview of Recording

By Steve Garland

There are no recent checklists, although work has begun to collate all published records, extract data from card indexes and check the identification of museum collections in Liverpool and Manchester.  It is hoped to produce a checklist in 2020.  At present, it is impossible to identify key sites, nor key threatened species, but this should be resolved as work progresses.

Lacewing-flies are an under-recorded group.  Several species of the Green Lacewings (Chrysopidae), Brown Lacewings (Hemerobiidae) and Spongeflies (Sisyridae) are attracted to light, so can be found in moth-traps.  Those running traps are encouraged to keep specimens for identification.  Unfortunately, not many can be identified in the field, so samples will often be required for a confirmed identification.  Most are associated with trees and shrubs where their larvae feed on aphids.

The Giant Lacewing (Osmylus fulvicephalus) is one species that is easily identified in the field, or from a photograph.  It has an aquatic larva and is associated with rivers in woodland.

The lacewing family Coniopterygidae comprise a number of very tiny species which are certainly overlooked, appearing more akin to whitefly.  They are very rarely recorded, being occasionally beaten from trees and shrubs where aphids are common, or occasionally in moth-traps.  Nearly all require dissection to examine tiny internal features – and only males can currently be separated.  Without a voucher specimen, most historic records cannot be validated.

Alderflies are better recorded, having aquatic larvae and being included in the Riverfly Recording Scheme.

Scorpionflies are probably the most frequently observed genus, but the three species can only be separated easily by looking closely at external features on the male genitalia.  Females require internal examination, so are trickier.  The fascinating Snow Flea (Boreus hyemalis) has rarely been recorded, being associated with moss in the winter months.