DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Larval stage of the brown lacewing (Micromus sp.). This larva uses long setae to spear and pack debris (bits of dead fungus and plant parts) onto its back, thus earning its other name, trash bug. The lacewing larva is sometimes called an aphid lion because of its voracious appetite for insect eggs and soft-bodied insects like aphids and mealybugs. When completely still this tiny larva (4mm) blends in with the environment to hide from predators. During the larval stage, lacewings grow and moult several times before emerging as winged adults. Adults have relatively long lives, high reproductive capacity, and the same predaceous nature as larvae. These characteristics make some lacewing species ideal as biological control agents of pest insect populations. Magnification: x6 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.
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