The Bug Geek

Insects. Doing Science. Other awesome, geeky stuff.

Photo Friday: ZOMG MANTIDFLY

It was BRUTALLY hot this Wednesday.  The air conditioner kicked in at dawn (unheard of). My wife and I looked at each other and said, “What shall we do this morning?” We decided that we should stack firewood, 12 cords of which had just been delivered and dumped on our lawn.

Yes we did.

Twenty gallons of sweat and six cords later we decided to call it quits for the day, but just before we finished up, I noticed what appeared to be a wasp resting on one of the logs.  I took a closer look, and realized it was NOT a wasp, it was ZOMG A MANTIDFLY.

Did this ever make up for all that @#$%^ing firewood.

Mantidflies have got to be one of the coolest-looking critters around. Super-neat neuropterans (the order containing the more familiar lacewings), they possess muscular, hooked, raptorial forelegs that look and function exactly like those borne by their namesakes, the true mantids. The adults are predators that hang around on flowers, where they can easily snag pollinators as they land.

Relatively uncommon (I’ve encountered less than half a dozen in my life), there are only four species in all of Canada. One species (this one, Climaciella brunnea) mimics a paper wasp (very well, I might add).

I took about eleventy-million photos of this highly cooperative and wonderfully photogenic little critter before setting it free back in my garden. Here are a few more of my faves:

* I’m going to be camping next week, but I’ve got a good lineup of posts ready for you! I’ll reply to any comments on my return 🙂

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9 responses to “Photo Friday: ZOMG MANTIDFLY

  1. Sean McCann June 22, 2012 at 8:11 AM

    Great find! I love mantidflies!

  2. Adrian D. Thysse June 22, 2012 at 8:35 AM

    You are so lucky! I’ve always wanted to come across one of these, but I wasn’t even sure if there were any in Canada. Glad to see there are! Great pic’s, I particularly like the vertical shot with the sinister black background…suits the bug.

  3. Dan Bodor June 22, 2012 at 9:23 AM

    Awesome! That looks so much like someone spliced the front half of a small mantis onto the back half of a wasp. I suppose that would be an example of convergent evolution as well as mimicry. (Did you know that hyaenas are part of the cat suborder (Feliformia) and not dog?)

  4. dragonflywoman June 22, 2012 at 10:50 PM

    What a cool mantidfly! I absolutely love those guys! These are some great shots.

  5. mike585 June 23, 2012 at 4:54 AM

    Wonderful images! 🙂

  6. Buck June 23, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    Ah, I love mantispids! I once collected a (much smaller, less pretty) specimen while backlighting. I was so excited to have it in my aspirator (and so afraid it would get away!) that I threw the plastic vial into my kill jar, which resulted in it getting frosted and partially destroyed by the ethyl acetate. I got the mantispid, though, and now it’s sitting proudly on my wall, juxtaposed against a much larger true mantis.

  7. biobabbler June 23, 2012 at 6:49 PM

    omg, I have NEVER SEEN or HEARD of such a thing. SO so super cool.

    And “eleventy-million” made me very happy. =) STEALING IT!

  8. Frédéric LeTourneux June 26, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    Crystal, this is one of the coolest things I’ve seen, thanks for that.

  9. Jem July 12, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    Wow! That’s a crazy looking pokemon! Must be rare. Looks like a cross between Scyther and Beedrill…

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