Lacewings, Antlions and Mantidflies belong to a primitive insect Order (Order: Neuroptera) among those that show complete metamorphosis (i.e. whose development stages are egg, larva, pupa and adult). The order contains about 4,000 species and there is considerable diversity within the order.

In general, adults of the order Neuroptera have two pairs of membranous wings, with an extensive pattern of veins and cross-veins. At rest, their wings are folded flat over the abdomen, or held tent-like over the body.

They have biting mouthparts and are predators on small insects and other arthropods. Lacewings, in particular, are regarded as the gardener's friend, as both the adult and larval forms eat aphids.

A photograph of an adult lacewing (_Chrysopa perli_)

Adult lacewings (like this Chrysopa perli) are major predators of aphids.
Photograph by Algirdas.

Other names for (or types of) Neuroptera include:

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