Cryptic diversity in green lacewings

A green lacewing on a leaf

Green lacewing, by Mathias Krumbholz (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Principal Investigator

Mr Steve Brooks

Project summary

  • Focus: the system of communication between green lacewings of the group Chrysoperla carnea

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.

Museum staff

Mr Steve Brooks

External collaborators

Prof Charles Henry
University of Connecticut

Biodiversity research

We are creating molecular and digital tools to explore undiscovered biodiversity

Insect research

Our scientists are conserving and investigating the Museum's collections to help with cutting edge research

Entomology collections

Browse the oldest entomology collection in the world of over 34 million insects and arachnids