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Photo#25291
Mantidfly - Dicromantispa sayi

Mantidfly - Dicromantispa sayi
St. Lucie County, Florida, USA
April 22, 2005

Images of this individual: tag all
Mantidfly - Dicromantispa sayi Mantidfly - Dicromantispa sayi Mantidfly - Dicromantispa sayi Mantidfly - Dicromantispa sayi Mantidfly - Dicromantispa sayi

Moved
Moved from Dicromantispa.

Moved
Moved from Mantispa.

#25291 Identification -- Dicromantispa sp.
This is a mantispid of the genus Dicromantispa, probably sayi.

Amazing.
You might have a new host record, by the way, something worth checking out with a Neuroptera expert.

Interesting
Great stuff, but I'd like to know the whole story. You found an egg sac... eventually this emerged?

 
Here's the story. Hope it's not too long winded...
I collected an unusual subadult P. audax female in St. Lucie County FL, to bring home and photograph. I raised her to an adult so I could see if her pattern changed and take more pics as well. I fattened her up prior to release. Before releasing her, she produced an infertile egg sac. (Infertile female spiders sometimes do this) I fed her some more and put a male with her so she would be fertilized. Once again, I waited too long before releasing her and she laid another egg sac. (A month had passed by this point) These eggs looked fertile. I decided to wait until the eggs hatched and second instars appeared, and then release them all at the collection site.

About three weeks passed and I had not noticed any development in the egg sac. Upon further inspection, no eggs were found and there was an odd silk like ball with a dark spot in the middle. I made a small incision at one end and gently pulled the mantidfly pupa out. I thought it was some kind of wasp pupa at the time.

I took pics with the intent of emailing them to GB Edwards so he could tell me what I was dealing with. He was on vacation, and the adult had emerged (I put the pupa back in it's cocoon) before he returned, so my mystery was solved.

My problem was where did the first instar mantidfly come from and how did it get in the spider's enclosure. I thought maybe I picked it up on one of my excursions and accidently introduced it, or maybe it was on the male audax I collected. If the first instar mantidfly was on the female audax when I collected her, how did it survive for so long before she laid a fertile egg sac? I asked GB, and his reply was the first instars are believed to feed on the spiders pedical until they produce an egg sac. I can't believe I never noticed that little sucker.

I hope this wasn't too long of an explanation, but that is the whole story. I try to stay away from posting pics of captive specimens, but I thought people might like to see these pics.

 
Wow, cool
I knew it would be a good story! Now I'll be looking for the larvae on all the Argiopes I see (no shortage around here). I wonder if the larva was responsible somehow for the different appearance of the female? Did she become more normal over time?

 
No, I don't think it was the larva.
The female I am referring to was 99.9% black. Spots 2 on the dorsum was a small white speck. This was unusual for the particular localized audax population I collected her in. (I am referring to specimens I found in a particular area such as a state park, undeveloped land, etc. primarily in FL.) There are other audax like her to be found, it was just unusual for the area.

Most of the localized audax (and a few other spider) populations I have observed share basically the same color/pattern characteristics, but there is always at least one specimen that stands out from the rest. (some images I posted for P. clarus, audax, and A. trifasciata are some examples of this.) These unique traits usually form at an early instar and become more prominent with each consecutive instar.

I still have a lot to learn, but this is what I have found to date. That's why I don't think it was the larva, but that is just my guess. I do know certain parasites can cause odd changes in their host, though.

 
Maybe you had this answered
Well according to my entomology professor, Mantispids are parasites on spiders. As far as I've been able to tell, the adult mantispid somehow introduces the egg/larva onto a spider. You definitely didn't contaminate this, you just have incredible luck!

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