Random Insect: Dusty-wing

Dusty-wing (family Coniopterygidae) photographed 06/14/2011 near Blissfield Michigan.

The other day I found this tiny insect here in southeast Michigan.  It was resting on a black walnut leaf (Juglans nigra, Junglandaceae) above the River Raisin early on a warm, sunny morning.  I wasn’t sure what it was at first, but after a closer examination I realized I had something pretty cool.

Dusty-wing (family Coniopterygidae) photographed 06/14/2011 near Blissfield Michigan.

This is a dusty-wing (family Coniopterygidae), and it’s a member of the order Neuroptera.  Like the order Megaloptera that I wrote about last week, I sometimes think of this as a “weird” order.  Insects in this taxon are relatively uncommon, and according to Triplehorn and Johnson (2005) dusty-wings are especially “rare or unlikely to be taken by the general collector.”

Dusty-wing (family Coniopterygidae) photographed 06/14/2011 near Blissfield Michigan.

Neuropterans are generally predaceous on other insects, and some are regarded as beneficial since they feed on plant pests.  Perhaps the best-known are the common and brown lacewings (families Chrysopidae and Hemerobiidae, respectively).  Dusty-wings also feed on other insects (Triplehorn and Johnson 2005).  Given their rarity, however, I doubt they’re very important as pest-control agents.

Literature cited:

Triplehorn, C.A. and N.F. Johnson.  2005.  Borror and DeLong’s Introduction to the Study of Insects.  Seventh Edition.  Thomson Brooks/Cole, Belmont, CA.

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About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Ecology, Entomology, Random Insect and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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