A neuropterous larva uses an allomone to attack termites


Larvae of Lomamyia spp. (Neuroptera: Berothidae) have been tentatively associated with several types of prey since they were first identified1. In all cases, the assumed prey lived in a confined habitat–an ant nest or termite gallery2. Lomamyia latipennis Carpenter has been the most thoroughly studied of these unusual Neuroptera. The immature states were described3,4 and the association with termites strengthened using Zootermopsis angusticollis Hagen (Isoptera: Kalotermitidae) as prey for a group of larvae4. A low survival rate of the larvae suggested that another termite might be the normal host. We now report field and laboratory findings which demonstrate the predator–prey relationship between L. latipennis and the subterranean termite Reticulitermes hesperus Banks (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) and describe their unique method of attacking prey with an aggressive allomone.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Smith, R.C. Ann. ent. Soc. Am. 16, 129–151 (1923).

  2. 2

    Gurney, A. B. Psyche 54, 145–169 (1947).

  3. 3

    Tosch, C. A. Pan-Pacific Ent. 40, 21–26 (1964).

  4. 4

    Tauber, C. A. & Tauber, M. J. Can. Ent. 100, 623–629 (1968).

  5. 5

    Huber, I. Acarologia 20, 112–115 (1979).

Download references

Author information



Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Johnson, J., Hagen, K. A neuropterous larva uses an allomone to attack termites. Nature 289, 506–507 (1981). https://doi.org/10.1038/289506a0

Download citation

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.