Neuroptera are rather fragile insects with two pairs of many-veined wings of about the same size. Antennae are long and threadlike or shorter and some are even clubbed. Chewing mouthparts occur in adults. Most Neuroptera hold their wings roof-like over the abdomen but some like dobsonflies overlap their wings. Male dobsonflies have long sickle shaped jaws that are used to hold the female during mating. Females have shorter jaws but can bite more effectively.
Immature stages are predaceous generally with chewing mouthparts. Some immatures have mouthparts modified for grasping and sucking. Many immature Neuroptera have extensions on the sides of their bodies. Immature antlions are called “doodlebugs,” and they make pits in sandy areas and are known to capture ants that fall into the pits. Helgramites, the immature forms of dobsonflies, are found in well oxygenated sections of rivers and streams.
Lacewings and their immature forms, known as aphid lions, are the most common insects in this order, and both feed on aphids. Adult green lacewings can be found throughout the year. They are considered beneficial, because they feed on other insects.
Metamorphosis is complete. They are 1/4 inch to over 3 inches long.
Also see Neuroptera for complete listing.