Zolotoglazye elves

Animal artist NN Kondakov, author of many accurate scientific picture of a fish, insects, birds and animals in many books, including the latest edition of "Life of Animals" and the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, congratulated me something to do with the holiday, saying: "I hope that in your Reserves for insects too elves divorced, and you, with your love of the unusual, they certainly seem — will not hide as from the bad people! "and drawn herein elf, he currently represents them.

Nikolai got, as they say, spot on. Is that "my" elves look a little bit different: delicate wings are longer and wider, and the eyes — large and luminous and gold.

And they are right, I'm running, especially on warm summer nights. That flit between the dark bushes, then fly directly to the laboratory hut that we put on in the summer of micro under Isilkul and Novosibirsk: elves fly at night to light the lamp and go quietly on the table, allowing even pull together and admire them very closely.

And that is true, that the elves are "divorced" — they actually become more … Anyhow: the micro-reserves — small paddocks, nature — not mow, do not drive, do not graze cattle, and just go through the narrow lanes, so all there is safety-friendly livestock and fruit.

How, and the elves?

Yes, and the elves!

But who said that the elves have the appearance of a person? These, they say, fairy tales and legends? And is it true that a person, even with the wings, the most beautiful creature and its beautiful appearance is nothing in the world? And another "hitch": ancient creators of myths or fairy-tale heroes to their divine "fasten" wings (cherubim — birds, elves — insects), without regard for the fact that such a structure simply will not work — Krylov muscles need, in particular, is quite different body — and a creature, even the six-winged seraphim, a stone falls down …

And yet there are elves, live, many, much more elegant and fabulously beautiful than "humanoid."

This — lacewings. Amazing, very cute insects of the order Neuroptera. They really are a mysterious life, and also really, really help people, as befits a true elves.

Slim elegant body of these "messengers night" light green, four of identical transparent wings, bearing a delicate and complicated lace strands, folded house when lacewing sitting or crawling, small head, which shine with iridescent and gold glitter bulging eyes — these creatures look, which I know is very close. It is with these zolotoglazymi elves, now arriving at night in the forest of darkness to light lamps in laboratory house, I made friends at all, they say, "on the short arm", it happened a few years ago, under the following circumstances.

The editors of the journal "Plant Protection" asked me to make color images lacewings, its eggs and larvae. The fact that these larvae are very useful — they destroy the mass of aphids, which lacewings not only protect, but also learned how to artificially breed in large numbers. And it was late autumn. Where to get live insects? It is the living — the dead lacewings body shrinks and turns brown and gold color fades indescribably her magical eye, dry well larva all wrinkled beyond recognition and black.

Rescued a fellow entomologist GA Beglyarov from the suburbs, working in the laboratory, where just throw zolotoglazyh elves sent their eggs and food for the future larvae. I immediately took up the equipment on the window sill a small farm for breeding these creatures, which really helped the instructions in the package.

In lacewings (another name them — flernitsy) all extraordinary. To begin with eggs laid by females. You would not think that this insect eggs! Maybe you even met this: on the leaves of bushes, often with their lower side, sticking a bunch of long, thin stalks with elongated white knobs on the ends — rather, something vegetable, from the kingdom of fungi or molds. But no: it lacewing-Mom, laying eggs, prudently sadit them tough and long pautinovye rods so they will not reach the other predatory insects and other hunters to these treats.

And there, in the Oval etui, swaying in the wind on a long counter, formed larva, and now her body shines through the pink-green matte shell eggs.

Larva straining, peel it bursts, and the light appears not pretty (in our opinion), in any case, not resembling elfovo child, a tiny creature who immediately knows what to do to rescue him slipping pautinovoy stand on the leaves of plants and then starts to scour it in search of aphids. Note that flernitsy "set" (the word "lay" — there is not appropriate) their eggs only where their children have a live feed.

Toothy larvae gentle elves — indescribable gluttons. Piercing their mandibles shpritseobraznymi aphids, they suck them down, just dry skin remains. The larvae of some species flernits throw these skins, others — cling to his hairy back, thus masking or from their more powerful enemies, or for discrete stalk the victim. By the way, these are active zubatiki, unlike his winged adult parents, in broad daylight. But at night — sleep.

Nimble predator growing rapidly. And when does otedyatsya and become large enough to turn into adult lacewings, slide down to the plant and weave silk kokonchik, round-round as a "lander" alien mikrozvezdoleta. After some time of its inhabitants, who are pretty transformed (there was another transformation, and larva become a chrysalis), starts from the inside wall of the ball saw through mandibles. Kerf this goes in a circle, and the "cockpit" after a while leans perfectly circular cap. Pupal lacewings mobile: crawls through that door, and the last transformation of adult winged insect — Comes close to nature.

This happens without human intervention. And on "zlatoglazih factories" (they are in our country for a few, and from there send Slayers pests in greenhouses, gardens and fields) and specialists declined from plants and from aphids. Instead aphid larvae flernits there fed grain moth eggs sitotrogi, whose production has been established much earlier for breeding tiny wasps, Trichogramma, are destroying the eggs of various pests. All this simple but unusual animal science had to learn quickly and to me. Larvae eat the food and to accept each other — they have a strong appetite for the wolf! Here it is necessary not to yawn, throw them a new batch of food.

In nature, small predator destroying not only aphids and many other pests that are available to them on the growth and strength of the cover — scale insects, scale insects, sucker, even caterpillars, cutworms, all on their menu are 76 species of insects and 10 species of ticks.

…Soon, the cells showed behind the first ball of cocoons, and then all the larvae pupated. I shook from the "farm" good handful kokonchikov!

Tracing the hatching of lacewings are doing and send all of the pictures you want, I was faced with a problem: what to do next with hundreds prozrachnokrylyh elves that window in my cage all went in and out of her white round "cabin"? Adults flernitsy not predatory, they consume in nature befitting a true elf food — flower nectar and pollen, and therefore my zolotoglazye pets happy licking honey. But the full benefit and for the reproduction of new generations of them, according to the instructions required a very tricky vitamin and protein supplement — avtolizovannye (fermented) yeast, but not simple, and beer … And where to get them in Isilkul? And, in addition, to make the house a private factory elves there was no need.

And then one day I pulled warren to the balcony, climb higher and emptied out its contents. Pale green tremulous cloud of several hundred creatures tonkokrylyh was slowly scatter the street.

Probably below the sight was noticeable and rather unusual — perhaps because the sun was sparkling in a variety of broad wings lacewings — a few passersby stopped and stared in amazement for a long time up to the side of our balcony …

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