Other Common Names
Mantisflies, Mantid Lacewings
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
The genus Mantispa is currently considered restricted to the Old World; all the Nearctic spp. have been moved to other genera
13 spp. in 6 genera in our area; 4 spp. in 3 genera in Canada (1)(2)(3)(4)(5)
Current taxonomic arrangement:
Plega Navás (4 spp., sw. US)
Nolima Navás (3 spp., TX, AZ)
Climaciella brunnea (widespread)
Dicromantispa Hoffman (2 spp., widespread, mostly East)
Leptomantispa pulchella (widespread)
Xeromantispa scabrosa (West)
Zeugomantispa minuta (East)
Bizarre creatures--resemble lacewings
with raptorial forelegs, like a mantid
. One species is a wasp mimic.
Keys to subfamilies and genera in(5)
elongated, resembling a giraffe's neck
large "raptorial" front legs, modified for catching prey--with claw and spines,
front legs originate from anterior part of thorax (at front of elongated prothorax), so that only four legs are usually used for walking--front legs are held up, used for catching prey
head triangular with large eyes, mantid-like
Most of NA, more diverse in the south
Predatory: Adults eat small insects, caught with their raptorial forelegs. Larvae in the subfamily Mantispinae are restricted to feeding on eggs within egg sacs of spiders. Larvae in the other more primitive subfamilies (i.e. our genera Plega and Nolima) have been reared on immatures of Coleoptera, Lepidoptera, Hymenoptera, and Diptera...as well as spider eggs and paralyzed spiders removed from sphecid cells.
Stalked eggs typically laid in large numbers.
Larvae undergo hypermetamorphosis
. In subfamily Mantispinae, 1st instar larvae either seek out and penetrate spider egg sac directly, or board spiders and wait for the opportunity to enter egg sacs as they are spun. In the other subfamilies, larvae are more generalist predators of other insects, especially terrestrial larvae of scarab beetles, noctuid moths, and certain wasps.
Cannings, R.A. & S.G. Cannings. 2006. The Mantispidae (Insecta: Neuroptera) of Canada, with notes on morphology, ecology, and distribution. Can. Entomologist 138: 531-544 (Full Text
Hoffman K.M. 2002. Family Mantispidae. In: Penny N.D., ed. A guide to the lacewings (Neuroptera) of Costa Rica.
Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 53(12): 251-275. [Read online
or download PDF
Hoffman K.M. 1992. Systematics of the Mantispinae (Neuroptera: Mantispidae) of North, Central and South America. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation. Clemson University, Clemson, SC. xiii+501 pp.
Redborg K.E. 1998. Biology of the Mantispidae. Annual Review of Entomology 43: 175-194. (Abstract
Reynoso-Velasco, D. & A. Contreras-Ramos. 2008. Mantispidae (Neuroptera) of Mexico: Distribution and key to genera. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 101(4): 703-712 (Full Text
Neuropterida Species of the World(4)
...an online catalogue by J.D. Oswald.