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Family Mantispidae - Mantid Lacewings

Mantidfly - Dicromantispa sayi - male Which Mantis Fly? - Plega Mantisfly - Dicromantispa interrupta Mutant alien?? - Dicromantispa sayi Zeugomantispa minuta - female Mantidfly - Climaciella brunnea Dicromantispa? - Dicromantispa sayi - female Unknown - Climaciella brunnea
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Neuroptera (Antlions, Lacewings, and Allies)
Suborder Hemerobiiformia (Lacewings and Allies)
Family Mantispidae (Mantid Lacewings)
Other Common Names
Mantidflies, Mantisflies, Mantid Lacewings, Mantis Lacewings
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Nearctic members of Mantispinae used to be treated in Mantispa (restricted to the Old World, as currently defined)(1)
Explanation of Names
Mantispidae Leach, 1815
11 spp. in 7 genera in our area; 4 spp. in 3 genera in Canada(2)(3)(4)(5)(6), ~400 spp. in 44 genera worldwide(5)
In our area:
Plega (4 spp., southwest)
Nolima pinal (southwest)(7)
Climaciella brunnea (widespread)
Dicromantispa (2 spp., widespread, mostly eastern)
Entanoneura batesella (isolated records in FL)
Leptomantispa pulchella (widespread)
Xeromantispa scabrosa (western)
Zeugomantispa minuta (eastern)
20-35 mm
Like lacewings, but with raptorial, mantid-like forelegs; one species is a wasp mimic.
Keys to subfamilies and genera in(6)(1)
Family characteristics(3):
prothorax 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
Worldwide (mostly tropical) & across 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, spider eggs and paralyzed spiders removed from sphecid cells.
Life Cycle
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.
See Also
Print References
Works Cited
1.Systematics of the Mantispinae (Neuroptera: Mantispidae) of North, Central and South America
Kevin M. Hoffman. 1992. University Microfilms International.
2.Species catalog of the Neuroptera, Megaloptera, and Raphidioptera of America North of Mexico
Penny N.D., Adams P.A., Stange L.A. 1997. Proc. Calif. Acad. Sci. 50: 39-114.
3.The Mantispidae (Insecta: Neuroptera) of Canada, with notes on morphology, ecology, and distribution
Cannings R.A., Cannings S.G. 2006. Can. Entomologist 138: 531-544.
4.Mantispidae (Neuroptera) of Mexico: distribution and key to genera
Reynoso-Velasco D., Contreras-Ramos A. 2008. Ann. Ent. Soc. Am. 101: 703-712.
5.Neuropterida Species of the World catalogue (by J.D. Oswald)
6.Family Mantispidae. In: Penny N.D., ed. A guide to the lacewings (Neuroptera) of Costa Rica
Kevin M. Hoffman. 2002. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 53(12): 251-275.
7.Taxonomic review of the mantidfly genus Nolima Navás (Neuroptera, Mantispidae, Calomantispinae)
Reynoso-Velasco, Daniel & Contreras-Ramos, Atilano. 2019. ZooKeys, 853:131-158.
8.Biology of the Mantispidae
Redborg K.E. 1998. Ann. Rev. Entomol. 43: 175-194.