Hemerobiids, commonly known as brown lacewings, are important predators of aphids and other insects. The potential of hemerobiids in applied biological control has not been studied in depth except in few species. They can be recognised by the following combination of characters:

  • Colour mostly brown or greyish brown, rarely pale green
  • Nearly all costal crossveins branched or forked at the tip
  • Anterior radial trace with at least two or more (up to 12) radial sector branches

Most of the common hemerobiids are brown or greyish and can be easily recognised, but some such as Notiobiella spp. are pale green and very similar in appearance to chrysopids and easily mistaken for chrysopids. Very few species have been utilised in applied biological control. Micromus igorotus Banks has been found to be a very effective predator of the sugarcane woolly aphid, Ceratovacuna lanigera Zehntner, in southern India.

Scientific name

Micromus igorotus (Banks)

Taxonomic position

Neuroptera: Hemerobiidae


This species has been reported to be quite abundant and appears to be a potential candidate for augmentative biological control of the aphid (Lingappa et al., 2004). This species feeds on the first and second instars of C. lanigera and occurs even when the pest densities are low. The predator completes its life cycle in about 25 days. The larvae have three instars spanning about 5-7 days. Larvae and adults have a feeding potential of 20-25 aphids / day. Fecundity ranged from 110 to 170 over a period of 16-18 days (Lingappa et al., 2004).



Selected references

  • Neuropterida Species Catalogue
  • Monserrat, V.J., Oswald, J.D., Tauber, C.A. & Diaz-Aranda, L.M. 2001. Recognition of larval Neuroptera, pp. 43-81. In: Lacewings in the crop environment. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 546 p.
  • New, T.R. 2001. Introduction to the systematics and distribution of Coniopterygidae, Hemerobiidae, and Chrysopidae used in pest management, pp. 6-28. In: Lacewings in the crop environment. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 546 p.
  • Oswald, J.D. 1993. Revision and cladistic analysis of the world genera of the family Hemerobiidae (Insecta: Neuroptera). Journal of the New York Entomological Society 101: 143-299 (with keys / descriptions for world genera).