Sympherobius klapaleki Zeleny, 1963 discovered in North West England

Between 21st May – 30th July 2021, 5 adult females of the brown lacewing S. klapaleki (image below) were caught in two vane traps placed on veteran oaks growing in open parkland 150 metres apart in Tatton Park, Chehsire (VC58) (images below) as part of a Tanyptera Project saproxylic invertebrate survey. This appears to be the first time S. klapaleki has been recorded in North West England.

Female Sympherobius klapaleki – one of five caught across two vane traps at Tatton Park

No more specimens were caught in 10 other traps set across the 2000-acre National Trust estate on different tree species: Beech, Sweet Chestnut, Horse Chestnut and Alder. Simultaneously installed vane traps at Dunham Park (6km north), including nine on veteran oaks, mostly in more shaded situations, also failed to catch S. klapaleki.

This species has only been recorded from vane traps once before in the UK; 2 females from a veteran oak in Kingsmead Spinney, Milton Keynes in 2017. However, the usual target for vane trapping in these situations is saproxylic insects including coleoptera, and representatives of smaller groups are often ignored.

In the UK, S. klapaleki was first recorded in 1994 at Silwood Park, Berkshire having been reared from a pupa found on dead oak twigs (Whittington 1998). There has since been occasional records from widely scattered sites in southern England, suggesting the species is under-recorded (image below: Tatton Park = green dot) (UK Lacewing Recording Scheme 2022).

The ecology of S. klapaleki is poorly understood, but at least 7 out of 11 British records have been associated with oak. Published records from the continent also usually associate S. klapaleki with oak trees, including recent first national records from Belgium and Denmark from English Oak Quercus robur (Nielsen 2014; Lock 2018). In Spain, S. klapaleki has also been associated with Portuguese Oak Quercus faginea and Pyrenean oak Quercus pyrenaica (Díaz-Aranda et al. 1986). However, a study in Turkey found 3 females associated with Pinus nigra (2004 – 2007), also the first records for the country.

A 1989 study in Berlin suggested S. klapaleki is probably found in the tree canopy of oaks, when it was one of two dominant lacewings caught in traps set on Oaks at 15m, with 75% fewer in traps set at 5m (Saure & Kielhorn 1993). However, this could depend upon the situation of the trees. A study in Switzerland (Duelli et al., 2002) found more Neuropterans (species and individuals) higher in the canopy within forest interior vs forest edge. The three trees related to the Tatton Park and Milton Keynes records were woodland edge and parkland trees with traps set below the canopy.


Thanks are due to Colin Plant for checking identifications and providing records from the Lacewing Recording Scheme; Mark Sills (Cheshire West and Chester Council) and colleagues for allowing access to Tatton Park.

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Duelli, P., Obrist, MK & Flückiger, PF, 2002. Forest edges are biodiversity hotspots – also for Neuroptera. Acta Zoologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, 48(Suppl. 2): 75-87.

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Lock, K., (2018) Bulletin de la Société Royale Belge d’Entomologie 2018 Vol.154 No.1 pp.17-19 ref.9

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Telfer, M. 2017. Rare Lacewing discovered in Milton Keynes. Milton Keynes Natural History Society; online:

Whittington, A. E., 1998. Sympherobius klapaleki Zeleny (Neur.: Hemerobiidae) new to Britain. Entomologist’s Record and Journal of Variation 110: 288 – 289.