Mantophasmatidae

family of insects

The insect family Mantophasmatidae is the sole family in its order. It is a group of African carnivorous insects discovered in 2002.[1] The most common vernacular name for this order is gladiators, but it is not well known under any name.

Gladiators
Temporal range: Jurassic–Recent
Mantophasma zephyra Zompro et al 2002.jpg
Mantophasma zephyra
Scientific classification
Kingdom:
Phylum:
Class:
Subclass:
Infraclass:
Superorder:
Order:
Notoptera
Suborder:
Mantophasmatodea
Family:
Mantophasmatidae

Their modern centre of endemism is western South Africa and Namibia, although a relict population and Eocene fossils suggest a wider ancient distribution.

Members of the order are wingless even as adults, making them relatively difficult to identify. They resemble a mix between praying mantids and phasmids. Molecular evidence indicates that they are most closely related to a family known as the Grylloblattidae.[2]

The mantophasmids were originally described from old museum specimens that found in Namibia (Mantophasma zephyra) and Tanzania (M. subsolana), and from a 45-million-year-old specimen of Baltic amber (Raptophasma kerneggeri).

The most recent classification recognizes numerous genera, including fossils.[3]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Primack, Richard B. (2006). Essentials of conservation biology (4th ed.). Sinauer Associates, Inc. p. 62. ISBN 978-0-87893-720-2.
  2. Cameron S.L; Barker S.C. & Whiting M.F. (2006). "Mitochondrial genomics and the new insect order Mantophasmatodea". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 38 (1): 274–279. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2005.09.020. PMID 16321547.
  3. Arill, A. & M. Engel 2006. Rock crawlers in Baltic amber (Notoptera: Mantophasmatodea). American Museum Novitates 3539:1-10[1]