#Biodiversity150 number 86 of 150 Mantis Fly

86/150: Mantidfly nymphs take the word “cowboy” to a new level: they ride spiders!

Animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Neuroptera: Mantispidae: Mantispinae: Leptomantispa: Leptomantispa pulchella (Banks 1912)

A Praying Mantis with spider riding nymphs?! Not quite! But this lovely mantid mimic is a member of the order Neuroptera, with the common name of ‘Mantid Fly.’ This species (Leptomantispa pulchella) has a large range all the way from Costa Rica to Canada. Despite its range, this mantid fly species is uncommon and has only been recorded in Canada a handful of times. In fact, there is currently only two records of this species on BOLD in Canada. The nymphs of this species are ectoparasites. The newly hatched nymphs will find and ride a spider host, and feed on its hemolymph (invertebrate blood). Their preferred spider hosts are typically jumping and ghost spiders. To finish their development into adults, the nymphs will leave their spider rides and enter a spider egg case. They feed on the eggs while passing their developmental stage. So, they may not partake in sexual cannibalism like the mantids they mimic, but their cowboy spider riding nymphs make them comparably as cool. #Canada150 #Biodiversity150

Specimen BIOUG02795-D06 – Oliver, University of British Columbia Geology Camp – 22-Jul-1990. Photo Credit: CBG Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics
A Mantid Fly found and photographed in Tennessee, USA. Photo Credit: cotinis goo.gl/HhVUUT

Here’s the barcode sequence information for this species:

Process ID:  INRMA492-12

nucleotide sequence


amino acid sequence


Visual representation of DNA barcode sequence for Mantis Fly

Learn more about it’s BIN (Barcode Index Number): BOLD:ACA3772

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