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Dicromantispa? - Dicromantispa sayi - female

Dicromantispa? - Dicromantispa sayi - Female
Alexandria, Fairfax County, Virginia, USA
August 22, 2009
Size: 1.8 cm, not incl. wings
My first brown mantidfly - I've found a couple of green ones previously. It was attracted to my patio lights at night.

Images of this individual: tag all
Dicromantispa? - Dicromantispa sayi - female Dicromantispa? - Dicromantispa sayi - female Dicromantispa? - Dicromantispa sayi - female Dicromantispa? - Dicromantispa sayi - female Dicromantispa? - Dicromantispa sayi - female

Moved from ID Request.

Dicromantispa sayi…
The brown antennae with yellow basal segments IDs this species.

See reference here.

That's not wholly correct, Ross
Antenna color is variable in D. sayi, as currently circumscribed. Some individuals of D. sayi have brown antennae with yellow bases, like the one in this post. But others have tri-colored (sometimes appearing to be bi-colored) antennae:

Also, Leptomantispa pulchella has brown antennae with yellow basal segments as well (see below) that character alone does not diagnose D. sayi. It can actually be pretty tricky to correctly ID these two species.

Does this mean she's un-IDed?

Not necessarily
It looks like this is indeed D. sayi...based on the wing venation, and a few other items.

Basically, D. sayi is generally larger overall than L. pulchella (though sizes of particular individuals can vary dramatically in mantispines, depending on how large the spider egg sac was that they fed on as larvae...they use all sorts of different species of spiders with different size egg sacs). But regardless of their larval nutrition, I believe the larger intrinsic size of D. sayi is reflected in wings with more transverse veins and cells. So this provides another character (other than the hard to see hairs on the pronotum) for distinguishing the species. Unfortunately, your posted image is somewhat low resolution and it's hard to make out the details of the wing venation. But from what I can make out (and other factors) I'd say this is indeed D. sayi.

(Might you have a larger size image file that you could post...adding it to this series? One where I could make out more detail in the wing venation? If so, I might be able to confirm for sure. Up to 3000 x 3000 pixels is allowed for uploading on BugGuide.)

Done - I've uploaded two overhead shots and one close-up of the pronotum, the best I had, where I can sort of see some tiny hairs, but wow, you're right about "hard-to-see". I also noticed a pair of them right at the top of it, just behind the head, in another shot, but wasn't sure what hairs you might be looking for and if those were they, so I left that photo out.

Good News
Congratulations...your gal is a D. sayi :-)

Those additional high-resolution images clarified things significantly.

First, the pronotal setation...seen at high enough resolution to make it out...corresponds to a relatively hairless D sayi form.

Second, the wing venation illustrates something I hadn't seen yet. (More than 8 "wish-bones" along the distal portion of the posterior edge of the's been exactly 8 in all the instances I'd seen before yours.) So I'd say this is a robust individual of D. sayi, which is consistent with your body length measurement of 18 mm.

Moreover, checking the ranges in the most recent reference by Reynoso-Velasco & Contreras-Ramos(1), Virginia is listed as in the range of D. sayi...and it is not listed as in the range of L. pulchella. That's not a fool-proof data point, but together with all the other criteria, it makes this a most confident ID of the dark, eastern form of D. sayi, formerly known as Mantispa uhleri before that species was subsumed in synonomy under D. sayi in 1989. Redborg also indicates that females of the "uhleri" form are especially rich in black coloration, which is also consistent with your egg-laying specimen here :-)

Finally, I'd just like to say that this is a beautiful specimen, and your photos here are of outstanding quality!

Thank you! I'm glad I had the right images for this ID. She was very cooperative, so I was able to get lots of photos. It's been a few years, so I don't remember exactly, but judging from some of my photos of her, it looks like I chilled her in the fridge first and that's why she was initially cooperative. Once I'd gotten my photos and she was warmed back up, though, she was eventually released.

You included very good information - thank you!

She laid eggs!!
I've been keeping her in a container and feeding her, and Saturday morning I looked in on her to find little white specks in patches on the clear plastic walls. Hundreds! But she's been in captivity for a couple weeks now, by herself - will they not be viable? Or can these store sperm for fertilization later?

I'm a bit late for this post...
...but it you capture one again, you can find lots of info on this species in the monograph The Developmental Ecology of Mantispa uhleri (1984). (Mantispa uhleri is now synonymized with Dictomantispa sayi.) I think you may find the answer to your question among the ~120 pages of that work.

PS: Great photos...would like to know how you got her to cooperate in posing so nicely? :-)

Thank you
for the verification and the reference! First entry for VA. =)

Great shots!
Great shots!


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