Lubomír Hanel


volume: 32
year: 2023
issue: 4
fulltext: PDF

online publishing date: 13/3/2024
DOI: 10.14712/25337556.2023.4.1
ISSN (Online): 2533-7556

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Within the order Neuroptera (net-winged insects), we find aquatic larvae in two families: lance lacewings (Osmylidae) and spongillaflies (Sisyridae). The giant lacewing (Osmylus fulvicephalus) is the only species of the Osmylidae in the Czech Republic. The adults are diurnal or cre­puscular weak-flying insects which mostly prey on small inverte­brates, supplementing their diet with some pollen. Eggs are deposited in damp places, usually near fresh water. Adults have transparent spotted wings, and short, thin antennae. They have two compound eyes, as well as three ocelli in-between. Giant lacewing larvae  have peculiar mouthpar­ts which look like a thin forceps with the ends bending outwards. The body is elongated and slender and terminates in two extensible graspers bearing tiny hooks; these are used to aid in locomotion and to grasp prey. The larvae are associated with damp, mossy habitats and are amphibious. They hunt small invertebrate prey, from which they suck the body fluids with their mouthparts. Giant lacewing larvae are best collected by picking through mosses and stones along the edges of streams. The forewings of adult spongillaflies (Sisyridae) have a span of 4–10 millimeters, and their wings are grayish or brownish, folded like a roof. The sessile eggs of Sisyridae are laid singly, or in groups, on objects that overhang water. Their water larvae have spindly legs, long antennae, and flexible, threadlike mou­thparts. However, the second and third instars carry seven pairs of jointed, movable trache­al gills bene­ath their plump abdomen­s. Sisyridae larvae probe sponges with their long, flexible mouthpar­ts. They are believed to feed exclusively on freshwater sponges, and they are unique among the Neuroptera in having segmented abdominal gills that function for breathing. After feeding and development, the mature larvae swim to the shore, attach to objects close to the water, and spin double-layered cocoons within which they pupate. Rearing Sisyridae larvae in the lab can be complicated due to the difficulty of keeping their sponge host and food source alive. Larval Sisyri­dae can be collected via a variety of methods, including taking them by hand from sponges, using benthic samplers in lotic habitats. This paper describes the conditions for rather short-term rearing of the larvae of lance lacewings and spongillaflies and some ideas for experiments and observations in a school aquarium.


school aquarium, Neuroptera, spongillaflies (Sisyridae), giant lacewing (Osmylus fulvicephalus), observations

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