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The four orders of insects covered in this Atlas have traditionally been studied together, even though the Mecoptera are not particularly closely related to the other three orders. This small group of just over 70 British and Irish species is of no great economic importance in this country (though some species are used as biological control agents elsewhere in the world), neither do they have the aesthetic appeal of, say, the Lepidoptera, yet they have long been a popular group to collect and study.
In an attempt to establish a baseline of information on the lacewings of Britain and Ireland, the Lacewing Recording Scheme was set up by the author, in collaboration with the Biological Records Centre. The Scheme was set up to examine and document the composition and distribution of the fauna of Britain and Ireland, and to record information on the phenology, voltinism and habitat preferences of each species.