WANTED: Giant Lacewing! Report to iNaturalist on Your Nearest Device

giant lacewing wanted poster header

We need your help to track down the Giant Lacewing (Polystoechotes punctata).

Giant lacewing wanted poster
Download and post on your favourite social media channel!

The Canadian Wildlife Federation and the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) are looking for this elusive species. It is an insect that kind of looks like a cross between a fly and a moth.

The experts at COSEWIC will be assessing its status. We are looking to citizen scientists to report any potential observation of this species to iNaturalist Canada.


iNaturalist is a wildlife observation reporting tool that anyone can use. The free mobile app for Android or iOS is easy to use. Or you can add an observation directly on the website at iNaturalist.ca.

It’s very important that a good photo is submitted along with the observation since experts will need this to confirm the species. Equally important is the location you saw it, which the app will automatically add if your phone’s GPS is turned on.

What, Where and When

The Giant Lacewing was once widespread in Canada and beyond. However, it hasn’t been seen in the eastern parts of North America since the 1950’s. But the experts are optimistic it still exists here, just that it hasn’t been seen or reported. Here’s what to look for:

  • A mostly black insect that is between 2.5 to and 4 cm centimetres (about 1 to 2.5 inches) long
  • Mottled wings, which are held tent-like over the insect’s body
  • Most likely to be found in more remote areas
  • Attracted to artificial lights, such as light posts, outdoor restrooms and buildings.
  • Most common time of year to spot one is mid-June through to early August.

Experts from Canada and around the world are using iNaturalist to keep track of where species are found. This is a valuable opportunity for anyone to contribute directly to species conservation decisions — like this assessment of the Giant Lacewing.

turtle mobileNot Just Lacewings

Any observation of wildlife — animals, plants, fungi, molluscs and fish — is a valuable contribution to the knowledge of Canada’s biodiversity. Plus with iNaturalist.ca you can keep track of what you’ve seen and search the map for what others have found. iNaturalist can even help you with identifying what you’ve seen with its instant auto identification feature.

Learn more about iNaturalist.ca and other ways to connect with wildlife.


James Pagé

Author: James Pagé

James Pagé is CWF’s species at risk and biodiversity specialist. He leads CWF’s initiatives on species at risk conservation as well as CWF’s involvement with provincial and federal governments with respect to endangered species protection.

10 thoughts on “WANTED: Giant Lacewing! Report to iNaturalist on Your Nearest Device”

  1. I believe I may have found a Giant Lacewig in Huntsville Ontario. It was on my south facing porch in the am.
    If you need to reach me my phone number is [HIDDEN]

  2. Awesome stuff! Giant lacewings are easily mistaken for antlions, fishflies, and other night-flying insects with bare wings. The best i.d. feature for giant lacewings is the outer margin of their wings. The veins in the wing form what almost looks like a ‘frame’ around the wing. This isn’t present in other similar, much more common species.

  3. After hours of searching I do believe the insect I’ve been trying to identify is indeed one of these, found in Nelson BC. I lack a mobile device to take high quality photos, but I can send the images I do have over email.

      1. Hey again! I didn’t receive an email, but have found another in my apartment whilst doing late night cleaning. Nelson must have quite a few of these guys around.

        1. Hi Kyle

          Sorry for the delay. We’re in summer vacation time! James will get back to you as soon as he can when he’s back 🙂

  4. Hi, I have found two giant lacewings in Oliver, BC. I am trying to get a good image of them but they’re very mobile and hard to get a good angle shot. I’ll try to have them up on iNaturalist in a day or two. Feel free to contact me.

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