Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Mantis Fly

Mantis Fly 
It's an insect that resembles a mantis, but it's not a mantis and it's not a fly. The Mantis Fly is related to lacewings and antlions, a member of the Family Mantispidae in the Order Neuroptera. I can't narrow this one down to genus level but it could be Campion sp.

 Several years ago I posted a photo of a Mantis Fly on this blog, here. I haven't seen one since. And then several weeks ago I found one on my washing basket in exactly the same place, within a metre. 
They're not very big, not even 2 cm long, but they look amazing because of the folded up front legs. They look like a cross between a praying mantis (not a relative) and a lacewing (a close relation). They stalk their prey and quickly snatch them with their front legs.

Some, if not all, mantisfly larvae hitch a ride on a passing female spider after they hatch. The larvae also have strong jaws and are predators that parisitise spider egg sacs. They pierce and consume the contents of spider eggs.

Mantis Flies are attracted to lights at night but rarely seen during the day.

So, in a couple of years time I'll check my pink plastic washing basket to see if it's attracted another Mantis Fly because my theory is that they like pink. Now I need to organise a PhD student to prove my theory.

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