Classification of Climaciella brunnea

Common Names: Wasp Mantisfly, Western Mantispid, Brown Mantisfly

Kingdom Animalia: Members of the Animal Kingdom are multicellular and (most) obtain energy from another organism. There have been more than 1.5 million species of animals described.

Phylum Arthorpoda: Members of this phylum have segmented bodies and bilateral symmetry. Another feature of arthropods is their paired, segmented appendages. Their tough and protective exoskeleton is made of chitin, made up of polysaccharides. Arthropods exhibit an open circulatory system and contain a tubular alimentary canal that extends from the mouth to the anus.

Class Insecta: There are almost one million described species of insects on the earth, accounting for nearly 90% of
the multicellular life on earth. Identifying characteristics of insects include three pairs of legs, segmented bodies
(head, thorax, and abdomen), and a single pair of antennae. Compound eyes are a feature of most insects. Insects
are the only invertebrates capable of flight and can inhabit almost all environments.

Order Neuroptera: Insects in the order Neuroptera are net-winged. This order is one of the smallest of the holometabolous insects (or insects that display full metamorphosis) with 6,000 known species. Adult and larval Neuroptera members are terrestrial predators of small arthropods. Adult Neuroptera range in size (medium to large) and have four wings, while during larval stage they are predators with large mandibles used for piercing and sucking.

Family Mantispidae: There are around 400 known species of mantispids. Development of all members of Mantispidae involves the egg sacs of spiders, because larvae feed on spider eggs. They are also characterized by their preying forelegs and an elongated pro-thorax. Adults resemble the more well-known family of Mantidae, or praying mantises.  

Genus Climaciella: The Climaciella has a unique coloring that mocks a paper wasp, or Polistes dominula. They are commonly found in Southern Canada as well as much of the United States.

Species Climaciella brunnea (Say, 1842): The species was discovered and described by Say in 1824. This species ranges from locations in Central and Western United States, Canada and Central America. Climaciella brunnea resembles praying mantises and mimics wasps. They are described as “sit and wait ambush predators” and they rely on distractions, such as flowers, to bring the prey to them. The larvae of this species feed on spider eggs, and the adults are known as spider hunters.

Photo courtesy Alex Wild

Classification information from (Ohl & Oswald 2004), (Encycolopedia of Life),  (Batra 1972), (Boyden 1983), and (Redborg 2000).


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