ADULTS: These soft bodied, light to medium brown insects hold their wings roof-like in a high arch over and extending past the end of their abdomen. Antennae are hair-like and are usually as long as body. Wings have many veins forming cells that generally run along the wing axis. Wings have short hairs scattered over the surface. Brown lacewings have shorter bodies and hold their wings in a higher arch than green lacewings. Adults have a 4 to 12 d preoviposition period. They can produce many hundreds of eggs during their life time.

EGG: Pale yellow to cream-colored, narrow, ellipsoid eggs are deposited singly or in groups less than five often on leaf hairs, spider mite webs or old spider webs. The egg darkens to pinkish brown just before the larvae emerge.  Eggs of green lacewings are similarly shaped, but are produced on hair-like stalks.  Larvae emerge from eggs in 3 to 4 d.

LARVA: Their elongate, somewhat flattened bodies do not have the large tubercles on the sides of swollen abdomen common to green lacewing larvae. Long hairs on their bodies are often covered with the bodies of prey.  Larvae have three pairs of true legs.  Body color usually drab tan to gray. Head and neck area are elongate and narrower than thorax. Mandibles are sickle-shaped and produced straight out from front of head. Larvae lack trumpet-shaped pads between the claws at the end of each leg (except in the first instar of some species).  First two instars and the beginning of third instar are active and search for prey.   The latter half of the third instar is spent quietly inside cocoon prior to pupation.  Larvae complete development in 5 to 15 d.

PUPA: Larvae pupate in a ball-shaped silken cocoon often under leaves of the plant or in leaf trash. Silk is produced from glands at the end of the abdomen. Adults emerge from pupae in 2 to 5 d.

GENERATION TIME: 10 to 20 d.

HABITS: Adults and larvae are predacious. Their short life cycle, high search rate, and high reproductive output make brown lacewings important predators. Larvae feed by sucking the body fluids from small soft-bodied arthropods, such as moth eggs and aphids.  They are also known to attack aphid parasitoid pupae within their aphid mummies.