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Family Mantispidae - Mantidflies

wasp species? - Climaciella brunnea Wasp Mantidfly - Climaciella brunnea Dicromantispa sayi - male stalked eggs Resting on the front of our house - Dicromantispa sayi Unknown Wasp or Bee - Climaciella brunnea Green Mantidfly - Zeugomantispa minuta Mantisipidae: Leptomantispa pulchella - Leptomantispa pulchella
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 (Mantidflies)
Other Common Names
Mantisflies, Mantid 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)
Current taxonomic arrangement:
Subfamily Symphrasinae
Plega Navás (4 spp., sw. US; 14 total)
Subfamily Calomantispinae
Nolima Navás (1 sp., TX, AZ, NM, & NV; 4 total)(7)
Subfamily Mantispinae(1)
Climaciella brunnea (widespread; 8 spp. total in the genus)
Dicromantispa Hoffman (2 spp., widespread, mostly East; 5 total)
Leptomantispa pulchella (widespread; 3 spp. total in the genus)
Xeromantispa scabrosa (West; monotypic genus)
Zeugomantispa minuta (East; 3 spp. total in the genus)
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(8):
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.
Print References
Redborg, K.E. (1998). Biology of the Mantispidae. Annual Review of Entomology, 43:175-194 (Full Text)
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.American Insects: A Handbook of the Insects of America North of Mexico
Ross H. Arnett. 2000. CRC Press.