Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada

Species Dicromantispa sayi

Praying Mantis-What Kind? - Dicromantispa sayi Arizona mantispid - Dicromantispa sayi mantispid 25jun2000 - Dicromantispa sayi Which Mantisfly Species? - Dicromantispa sayi Dicromantispa sayi? - Dicromantispa sayi - female Mantidfly - Dicromantispa sayi Possible Mantid - Dicromantispa sayi Dicromantispa sayi - male
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Neuroptera (Antlions, Owlflies, Lacewings, Mantidflies and Allies)
Suborder Hemerobiiformia (Lacewings, Mantidflies and Allies)
Family Mantispidae (Mantidflies)
Subfamily Mantispinae
Genus Dicromantispa
Species sayi (Dicromantispa sayi)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Dicromantispa sayi (Banks)
Orig. Comb: Mantispa sayi Banks 1897
Syns: M. uhleri, M. fuscicornis (1)
Dicromantispa sayi has dark brownish-to-black as well as lighter yellowish color forms (2). Note these characters:
    • Smaller than interrupta, with apex of forewing clear (D. interrupta differs in having apex of forewing with a dark spot);
    • Antennae can be either brown with yellow basal segments or tri-colored...see comments here, remarks here, and images below:
New World--s.e. Canada to Carribean and Central America (3)(4)(1) (5). Detailed distribution in our area below:
Canada: s. Ontario(1); USA: AZ, AR, CA, CT, FL, GA, IL, IN, KS, LA, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, NE, NM, NC, OH, OK, PA, SC, SD, TX, UT, VA, WV, WI (5)(3) (6).
Lectotype Locality: Brazos Co., Texas
Life Cycle
eggs; young-larvae; cocoon; pupa; pharate adult (sub-adult); adult female; adult male:
Dicromantispa sayi is comprised of two or more different color forms which are largely allopatric (see 2nd paragraph here). Those color forms correspond (more or less) to three previously named species that were synonymized in Hoffman (1989), namely: Mantispa sayi, M. fuscicornis, and M. uhleri (original descriptions here,  here, and at bottom of pg. 79 here). The dark forms of D. sayi, from east of the Mississippi River and northward, correspond to the former Mantispa uhleri...they have significant amounts of black coloration on the abdomen, pronotum and forelegs (especially in females). Much interesting life history, behavioral, and other information on M. uhleri (=D. sayi) can be found in the 1985 study by Redborg & McLeod.
Care must be taken in identifying D. sayi, as the dark "uhleri" forms can look very much like the the dark forms of L. pulchella...and similarly for the light forms of D. sayi and those of L. pulchella. However, in one case identification can be fairly straightforward: if the antennae are tri-colored, with basal 2/3 brown, next 1/6 yellow, and terminal 1/6 dark brown-to-black, then one has the lighter southern form of D. sayi. Otherwise, attention should be paid to the setation (i.e "hairiness") on the pronotum...for details see comments under the heading "See Also" here. (Note that D. interrupta typically has such "tri-colored antennae" as well, but its wing markings distinguish it from D. sayi and L. pulchella.)
Note: I see several images filed under D. sayi which I feel might be misidentified Leptomantispa pulchella. These can be very tricky, but see the guide page for Leptomantispa for discussion. --P. Coin (Cotinis) 7/17/13.
Print References
Redborg K.E. & E.G. MacLeod. 1985. The developmental ecology of Mantispa uhleri Banks (Neuroptera: Mantispidae). Illinois Biol. Monogr. 53. 130 pp.
Rice, M. E. & W. B. Peck. 1990. Mantispa sayi (Neuroptera: Mantispidae) parasitism on spiders (Araneae) in Texas, with observations on oviposition and larval survivorship. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 84: 52-57.
Hoffman, K. M. 1989. Taxonomic status of Mantispa sayi, Mantispa fuscicornis, and Mantispa uhleri (Neuroptera: Mantispidae). Proc. Entomol. Soc. Wash. 91:637–639. (Full Text)