Logo Logo

Haug, Carolin; Braig, Florian; Haug, Joachim T. (2023): Quantitative analysis of lacewing larvae over more than 100 million years reveals a complex pattern of loss of morphological diversity. Scientific Reports, 13 (1). ISSN 2045-2322

[thumbnail of s41598-023-32103-8.pdf] Published Article

The publication is available under the license Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (2MB)


Loss of biodiversity and especially insect decline are widely recognised in modern ecosystems. This decline has an enormous impact due to the crucial ecological roles of insects as well as their economic relevance. For comparison, the fossil record can provide important insights on past biodiversity losses. One group of insects, for which a significant decline over the last 100 million years has often been postulated, but not demonstrated quantitatively, is Neuroptera (lacewings). Many adult lacewings are pollinators, while the larvae are mostly predators, which becomes very obvious from their prominent stylet-like mouthparts. We investigated the fossil record of larvae of all neuropteran lineages as well as a large share of extant neuropteran larvae. Based on these, we performed an outline analysis of the head with stylets. This analysis provides a quantitative frame for recognising the decline of lacewings since the Cretaceous, indicating also a severe loss of ecological roles.

View Item
View Item