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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 06, 2021

Did You Know? 17 Incredible Brown Mantidfly Facts

Brown mantidfly facts like their larvae adopting a parasitic life is interesting.

The Climaciella brunnea, also known as, wasp mantidfly or brown mantidfly, is an insect that resembles a golden paper wasp, lacewings, and flies. The only distinguishing factors that set these apart are their modified forelegs which look like those of mantids. The females are larger than males. The life cycle of the mantispa includes stages called the egg, larva, and super larva. Once hatched during the month of spring, the larvae are abandoned by the females. The larvae parasitize on any nearby wasp or spider. Unless the egg larvae grow into adults, they adopt a parasitic life. They devour the eggs of the spider and develop themselves through it. When grown into complete adults these mantidflies start roaming around flowers and surprisingly attack any prey that passes by.

Read on to know more about mantidflies. For more relatable content, check out these mayfly facts and purple emperor butterfly facts for kids.

Brown Mantidfly Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a brown mantidfly?

The brown mantidfly is an insect belonging to the class Insecta of the family Mantispidae. It resembles a  golden paper wasp and flies in appearance with a long prothorax, edged wings, and a claw to capture and kill its prey. They have a vein pattern similar to wasps. Their body is hairless with bands which set them apart from other wasps. They are predatory, terrifying, fearful, and unusual insects. Their life cycle includes hypermetamorphosis, producing an egg, larva, and a super larva before turning into an adult fly. Their larva is parasitic. It attaches itself to the egg sac of spiders and feeds on it when spiders lay eggs. It sometimes drinks the blood of spiders which makes it a frightening parasite. It leaves the body of the spider after becoming an adult. It was primarily assigned to the genus Mantispa of order Neuroptera. The Climaciella brunnea is found in grasslands and open fields, roaming around flowers, to watch out for their prey. The adults feed on nectar and fellow invertebrates found nearby.

What class of animal does a brown mantidfly belong to?

Climaciella brunnea is a wasp mantidfly belonging to class Insecta of order Neuroptera.  

How many brown mantidflies are there in the world?

The wasp mantidfly is abundantly found in areas of Southern Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, and Colorado. In the U.S. there are ten different species of the mantidfly. The brown mantidflies have suffered through habitat loss, but, over the years they have multiplied and secured themselves. These mantidflies are safer and plentiful as of current records and are endemic to Colorado.

Where does a brown mantidfly live?

The mantidfly lives in marshes, grasslands forests, and open fields. They can be sighted in Mexico, Washington, Colorado, and Nevada.

What is a brown mantidfly's habitat?

A wasp mantidfly lives among grasses and herbaceous plants with flowers where they lie in ambush to capture their prey, Climaciella waits for the prey to pass by and surprisingly launches an attack.

Who do brown mantidflies live with?

This wasp mantidfly is rather solitary until it is time for mating. Its sexual instincts get activated during spring and it starts releasing aggregation pheromones to attract the female wasp mantidfly Climaciella. This pheromone helps in distinguishing the potential mate from any look-alike wasp.

How long does a brown mantidfly live?

Climaciella brunnea does not live for very long. The female mantidfly could remain alive for a month or more but the male Climaciella has a short life of a few days.

How do they reproduce?

Climaciella brunnea reproduces during spring. The male mantidfly releases aggregation pheromones to attract female Climaciella. The female mantidfly lays around 1000 eggs on low stalks and leaves or any low vegetation space. After laying the eggs, the female abandons them and leaves them to their fate. Hence, the larvae become parasitic to keep themselves alive. These mantidflies undergo hypermetamorphosis, producing larvae and super larvae. The larvae attach themselves to the egg sacs of spiders. If the larvae accidentally land on a male spider, it is transferred to the female spider's egg sac while the male and female spiders are copulating. The mantidfly larvae butts inside the females when the female spider is sewing her egg case. It derives its food by devouring the eggs and remains inside until it has grown into an adult.

What is their conservation status?

Their conservation status is listed as Not Evaluated by the IUCN. It is not an endangered species. This is readily found in the areas of its origin. The females produce a large number of eggs in a short lifespan, keeping the population stable.

Brown Mantidfly Fun Facts

What does a brown mantidfly look like?

Brown mantidflies are one of the coolest predatory insects.

The brown mantidfly is an unusual-looking insect that is often mistaken for praying wasp, lacewings,  and other flies. It belongs to the Neuroptera order of the Mantispidae family. Also known as the wasp mantidfly, these insects have a brown or black exoskeleton with yellow, brown, or black bands, and a single claw to capture small insects. They have slightly oval wings of uniform length. Their forelegs are modified for preying through ambush technique and their triangular head looks like that of a praying mantis and a wasp. However, they are not related to each other except for sharing the same family Mantispidae.

How cute are they?

These mantids are strange-looking insects that prey on smaller insects and produce carnivore larvae which have an innate hostility towards passing spiders. They are gruesome tiny parasites found immensely in Colorado. The bug fans might find them extraordinary. They do not sting unless it is by accident, but this wasp has nothing extraordinarily cute about it.

How do they communicate?

There are no specific studies to indicate the exact way these flies communicate. However, insects tend to communicate through vibrations. These vibrations are created on the surface they reside, by using body parts like legs or wings.

How big is a brown mantidfly?

The Climaciella is  0.8-1.2 in (20-30 mm) in length and weighs around 0.1-0.2 oz (4-5 g). They can grow as big as grasshoppers.

How fast can a brown mantidfly fly?

These species of mantidflies have raptorial front legs which accommodate them in capturing the prey. Although they have edged wings they do not fly quite much. Their hunting technique is that of sitting and waiting until their prey passes by and then launching a surprise attack. Having this disposition, they do not require flying except for hovering here and there.

How much does a brown mantidfly weigh?

These species are small insects with complex bodies. It weighs around 0.1-0.2 oz (4-5 g) and not more than that.

What are the male and female names of the species?

These species of Neuroptera wasps do not have distinct names for males and females.

What would you call a baby brown mantidfly?

The baby Climaciella is always found in the larva state. It is called by the name of its parent species by the time it emerges out from the spider it lived inside.

What do they eat?

The Climaciella brunnea eats insect larvae, cricket, bees, caterpillars, birds, flies, and other small insects. The adults consume nectar or fellow invertebrates. Whenever they find flies and moths roaming around flowers, they capture them like a mantis would do.

Are they poisonous?

The Climaciella brunnea wasp is not poisonous in nature. It might accidentally bite humans. It is however an extremely predatory insect. It uses its legs and claw to attack right at the spine of the prey and kills it.

Would they make a good pet?

The Climaciella brunnea is peaceful and can be kept as a pet, but due to their predatory nature and habitat of open fields and grasslands, these species should be left outdoors on their own.

Did you know...

The Climaciella brunnea has the ability to camouflage as other toxic insects when they sense danger.

The markings on the adults are similar to those of a common wasp.

Is a mantidfly a mantis?

The Climaciella brunnea is neither related to a fly nor a mantis. It resembles the yellow paper wasp and lacewings in physical appearance as it also has a triangular head. It has a prothorax whereas other wasps have a head, thorax, and abdomen.

How to identify brown mantidfly?

The Climaciella brunnea has a segmented body with an extended thorax and a single claw. It is brown or black in color with yellowish or reddish bands and has a single claw in front. They have modified front legs and slightly oval and edged wings.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods from our western conifer seed bug facts and puss moth facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable brown mantidfly coloring pages.

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