Cryptic diversity in green lacewings

We are investigating the unusual system of communication that has evolved in green lacewings of the group Chrysoperla carnea.

Insects in this group communicate using vibrational signals produced by their abdomens and transmitted through the substrate (air or soil). These low-frequency signals are exchanged between courting individuals in a precise duet.

Studying the subtle differences in the lacewing’s ‘songs’ has triggered the discovery of numerous cryptic species across all of the Northern Hemisphere and large portions of Africa.

So far we have described 20 species that have unique acoustical characteristic that reproductively isolate them from all other similar species.

Glossary

Cryptic species
Cryptic species look exactly the same but are genetically different and do not interbreed. In order to distinguish these species, data from DNA is often studied.  

Project collaborators