golden-eyed lacewing

(Chrysopa oculata)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

golden-eyed lacewing


NNR - Unranked


not listed


Common in Minnesota


Three generations per year: May through October


Fields, meadows


Total Length: ½ to 916 (12 to 14 mm)

Photo by Alfredo Colon

Golden-eyed lacewing is a small, very common, typical green lacewing. It occurs in Mexico, in Central America, and throughout North America. It is the most common lacewing in eastern North America. It is common in Minnesota. They are found from May through October on grass, weeds, and shrubs, in fields, meadows, and other relatively open areas.

Adults are soft-bodied and small, ½ to 916 (12 to 14 mm) in length. The body is long and slender, and has a delicate appearance. The thorax and abdomen are pale green. There are small dark spots on the exoskeletal plate (pronotum) on the upper side of the thorax.

The upper side of the head (vertex) has two pairs of black spots. The lateral groove on the vertex near the margin of the compound eye is completely pale. The upper part of the face (frons) has a black mark. This mark appears as two bold crescents, one below each antennal socket, that meet between the sockets; and a thin line that runs around the outer and upper sides of each socket. There is a red Y-shaped mark between the antennal sockets with arms that stretch well above the sockets. The compound eyes are hemispherical and golden or copper colored. The antennae are hair-like and two-thirds as long as the body. On the base of each antenna on the lower half of upper side there is a reddish band. The band is not separated by a black X-shaped mark. The second antennal segment has a black ring.

The wings are pale green and clear with many green veins and many black cross veins. They are at least 25% longer than the body. They appear to be hairless, but there are short hairs along the margins and on the veins that are visible only under magnification. The forewing appears to have just one radial sector. The subcosta vein (Sc) and the anterior branch of the redius (R1) are not fused at the wing tip. The cross veins at the leading (costal) margin are not forked.

Third stage (instar) larva is alligator-like in appearance and ¼ to 5 16 long. It has long, sickle-shaped mandibles and well-developed legs which allow it to move quickly.



Larval Food

Mostly aphids

Adult Food

Mostly aphids

Life Cycle

The female lays eggs singly on foliage. She can lay two to five eggs per day and several hundred over her lifetime. The eggs are oval and held at the end of long, slender stalks. They hatch in three to six days and the larvae pass through three instars in two to three weeks. They pupate in a silk, pea-shaped cocoon. Pupa overwinter in the soil and adults emerge in the spring.


Adults are nocturnal, active from sunset to sunrise. They are attracted to lights. They may emit an unpleasant odor when handled.

Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 24, 27, 29, 30, 82.





Neuroptera (antlions, owlflies, lacewings, mantidflies and allies)



Hemerobiiformia (lacewings, mantidflies and allies)



Chrysopidae (green lacewings)



Chrysopinae (typical green lacewings)








Eight previously recognized subspecies have been raised to genus level, transferred out of this genus, or reduced to synonyms.


Chrysopa albicornis

Chrysopa conspersa

Chrysopa mexicana


golden-eyed green lacewing

golden-eyed lacewing

goldeneye lacewing







Costal margin

The leading edge of the forewing of insects.



The upper part of an insect’s face, roughly corresponding to the forehead.



The developmental stage of arthropods between each molt; in insects, the developmental stage of the larvae or nymph.



The saddle-shaped, exoskeletal plate on the upper side of the first segment of the thorax of an insect.



The upper surface of an insect’s head.






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Alfredo Colon
  golden-eyed lacewing    Photos






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Other Videos
  Golden-eyed Lacewing (Chrysopidae: Chrysopa oculata) Close-up
Carl Barrentine

Jul 29, 2011

Photographed at Fisher, Minnesota (29 July 2011). Thank you to 'v belov' ( for confirming the identity of this specimen!

  Green Lacewing (Chrysopidae: Chrysopa oculata) on Wall
Carl Barrentine

Aug 15, 2010

Photographed near Fisher, Minnesota (14 August 2010).




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Alfredo Colon

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

golden-eyed lacewing







Created: 10/14/2020

Last Updated:

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