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Sponge-eating lacewing (Sisyra)

Taxonomic group

Sisyridae: Sisyra

Diagnostic features

The larvae of Sisyra lacewings have been rarely recorded in New Zealand, probably in part because they could be mistaken for one of the many terrestrial insects that drop into streams. They have soft, oval, pale bodies and long needle-like mouthparts and antennae projecting well in front of the head. The legs are skinny and delicate.

Typical habitats

Although we have few records in New Zealand, Sisyra larvae are associated with freshwater sponges and these can be common on stony streams with slow to moderate current speeds.


They use their long, needle-like mouthparts to feed on the tissues of freshwater sponges.

Indicator value

Sisyra larvae are so rarely recorded that they have not been assigned any tolerance values. We know they are associated with freshwater sponges, but sponges can occur in streams with good or poor water quality.