From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Silky lacewings
Temporal range: Carnian–Recent
Silky Lacewing (6769953805).jpg
Psychopsis insolens
ZooKeys-130-217-g001 Undulopsychopsis alexi.jpg
Undulopsychopsis alexi
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Neuroptera
Superfamily: Nemopteroidea
Family: Psychopsidae
Handlirsch, 1906
  • see text

Psychopsidae is a family of winged insects of the order Neuroptera. They are commonly called silky lacewings.

The silky lacewings are distinguishable in their adult stage by their spectacularly patterned and pubescent wings, broad wing shape, dense venation, and the presence of a vena triplica (the apical fusion of three veins in the hindwing).[1][2]


They were formerly placed in the superfamily Hemerobioidea, but do not seem to be closely related to these net-winged insects at all. Rather, might be closer to the Myrmeleontoidea which contain for example the antlions (Myrmeleontidae). In particular, the spoon-winged laceflies (Nemopteridae) seem to be very closely related to the silky lacewings. These had at one time been placed in a superfamily Nemopteroidea. The fossil family Osmylopsychopidae was - as indicated by their scientific name - initially believed to be intermediate between the Psychopsidae and the Osmylidae. But actually these similarities are due to plesiomorphies in the first case, and simply misperceived in the second; the osmylopsychopids are one of the basal lineages of the Myrmeleontoidea as traditionally defined. The Nemopteroidea were eventually abolished and its members included in the Myrmeleontoidea. But as the silky and spoon-winged lacewings together with the "butterfly" lacewings of the Kalligrammatidae do seem to form a quite distinct clade among the expanded Myrmeleontoidea, it appears well warranted to reinstate the Nemopteroidea for them.[citation needed]

Silky lacewings were especially more diverse from the Triassic period to the Tertiary than in modern times.[1]

Genera and species[edit]

The family currently includes five living genera in two subfamilies;[3] there are also a number of extinct genera with uncertain relationships. The extant species are restricted to the Afrotropical (three genera), Indomalayan (one genus) and Australasian (one genus) regions:[4]

incertae sedis genera[edit]

The following extinct genera are based on Peng et al. 2011:[1]


  1. ^ a b c Peng, Y.; Makarkin, V.N.; Wang, X.; Ren, D. (2011). "A new fossil silky lacewing genus (Neuroptera, Psychopsidae) from the Early Cretaceous Yixian Formation of China". ZooKeys. 130: 217–228. doi:10.3897/zookeys.130.1576. PMC 3260761Freely accessible. PMID 22259278. 
  2. ^ Grimaldi, D. and M. S. Engel. 2005. Evolution of Insects. Cambridge University Press, New York.
  3. ^ Badano, Davide; Aspöck, Ulrike; Aspöck, Horst; Cerretti, Pierfilippo (August 2016). "Phylogeny of Myrmeleontiformia based on larval morphology (Neuropterida: Neuroptera)". Systematic Entomology. 42: 94–117. doi:10.1111/syen.12200. 
  4. ^ "Psychopsidae (Silky lacewings) - Taxonomy". Retrieved 13 September 2016. 
  5. ^ Makarkin, V.; Archibald, S.B. (2014). "An unusual new fossil genus probably belonging to the Psychopsidae (Neuroptera) from the Eocene Okanagan Highlands, western North America". Zootaxa. 3838 (3): 385–391. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3838.3.8. 


  • Engel, Michael S. & Grimaldi, David A. (2007): The neuropterid fauna of Dominican and Mexican amber (Neuropterida, Megaloptera, Neuroptera). American Museum Novitates 3587: 1-58. PDF fulltext