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Photo#4436
Little Yucatan Mantid - Mantoida maya

Little Yucatan Mantid - Mantoida maya
Hobe Sound, Martin County, Florida, USA
June 27, 2004
Shot at Jonathan Dickinson State Park.

I actually thought this was a large ant when I first saw it scurrying across the hiking path. I was totally surprised to find it was a juvenile Mantis!

I've seen a lot of Mantises down here in Florida, but never one like this. I know juveniles can have different patterning than adults. But to see this one on the ground (as opposed to on plants) has me baffled.

I wonder if the markings are meant to imitate another species? I've seen the white antennea banding on ichneumons and sawflies before.

Gimme a mantis hold the maya!
Gimme a mantis hold the maya! I love learning about new mantises. If you like this guy check out the mantidfly!

Is that what my bug is?
Is that what my bug is?

Gosh, these things are so cut
Gosh, these things are so cute and alien- looking. Beautiful picture!

Actually
They are supposed to mimic sawflies when they reach adulthood.

Mantoididae
Genus Mantoida belongs to family Mantoididae, not family Mantidae. I have gone ahead and moved it to the correct family.

Maybe Mantoida maya?
I'm intrigued by this one so I spent some time investigating. I posted a few links that might be useful for identifying mantids in the future.

I'm purely speculating that this might be an immature Mantoida maya. There's an illustration of this species at the Tree of Life.

I've emailed someone who researches them to see if he can confirm.

 
Confirmed
Here's what Mark Deyrup had to say:

What a fantastic photo! These are very speedy insects, and it must have been difficult to get this photo. It is indeed a young Mantoida maya, the last instar before becoming an adult. There is a guy in Germany who is doing research on this species; he says that it is a surprisingly primitive species. He is planning a special trip to Florida to look for this species next year.

 
WOW!
This is such cool news! I got quite a few shots of it, so I'll have to post more (and perhaps another trip to Jonathan Dickinson is in order...)

I also got shots of the Grass Mantis (which are fairly common down here, I'll post them as soon as I get a chance), and I am still searching for the Lichen Mantis (well, that's what we called it). I would see them from time to time, but they are tough ones to spot.

 
Check this link
The observations match yours, and the illustration also matches:
Florida Entomologist 69(2), Observations on Mantioda maya

You've made quite a great find!

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