Key to Preying Mantids

This key is based on a translation of the works of Giglio-Tos and Beier. I have in general followed the classification used by Beier, and relied on Giglio-Tos to provide details missing from Beier. There are a number of important limitations:

a) The key is entirely derivative, and not based on any original observations by me. I may well have introduced errors in the translation, in addition to any errors in the original sources. There are also, of course, the underlying taxonomic difficulties.

b) The key is incomplete in the following respects:
1) It only goes to the level of genera. Sub-genera are treated as synonyms for the moment.
2) Genera described subsequent to the work of Beier, or not included in that work, are omitted.

I intend to address these omissions (in reverse order of priority).
Any comments, criticisms or additions would be very welcome.

David Oliveira
62 Coombe Lane west
Kingston KT2 7BY

 

 

 

Revisions

11 July 1996. Subfamily Mantinae included, and other subfamilies revised according to Beier's Genera Insectorum.
21 October 1996. Minor corrections and additions. First version coded for HTML.

Key to Families

1. Front tibia without true apical hook, tarsus articulating at tip of tibia.
Hindwing with two simple veins in crease between anal lobe and anterior part.
Front tibia and femur with bristles, thickened at base; no pronounced spines.

CHAETEESSIDAE

Front tibia with true apical hook, tarsus articulating laterally at the base.
Hindwing with one simple vein in crease between anal lobe and anterior part.
Femur (at least) has spines ventrodistally.

2

2. Body and elytra metallic green or blue/green.
Proximal external spine of anterior femur very long and stout.

METALLYTICIDAE

Body and elytra not metallically coloured.
Proximal external spine of anterior femur not significantly larger than the others.

3

3. Prothorax square, or only a little longer than broad.

4

Prothorax several times longer than broad (disregarding any lateral lobes/processes).

6

4. Front tibia without spines, or only with delicate spines ventromedially.

AMORPHOSCELIDIDAE

Front tibia with two rows of spines.

5

5. Small and delicate, both sexes usually with normal wings (female rarely brachypterous).
Anterior femur much expanded inferiorly: inferior face much wider than exterior face.

MANTOIDIDAE

Squat robust insects, both sexes brachypterous.
Inferior face of anterior femur narrower than external face.
7th abdominal sternite of female with two long spines.

EREMIAPHILIDAE

6. Ventromedial spines of anterior femur arranged with long spines separated by 3 or 4 short spines.
Antennae of male pectinate.
Vertex prolonged into a more or less conical protuberance, divided at the apex.

EMPUSIDAE

Ventromedial spines of anterior femur arranged with long spines alternating with short spines (or equal in length).
Antennae of male never pectinate.

7

7. Ventrolateral spines of anterior tibia more or less decumbent, close together and overlapping.
Tegmina often with bicoloured transverse band or spiral marking.

HYMENOPODIDAE

Ventrolateral spines of anterior tibia erect or oblique, more or less separated from one another.
Tegmina never with bicoloured markings.

MANTIDAE

 


Key to Subfamilies, Genera and Species

Family Chaeteessidae

single genus Chaeteessa

Family Metallyticidae

single genus Metalyticus

Family Mantoididae

single genus Mantoida

Back to key to families

Family Amorphoscelididae

Key to subfamilies
1. Anterior tibia completely without spines apart from apical hook.
Distal segment of cerci spread out and enlarged like a leaf.
Anterior femur with 1 discoidal spine.

subfam.Amorphoscelidinae

Anterior tibia with delicate spines ventromedially, at least distally.
Distal segment of cerci not modified.
Anterior femur with 2-3 discoidal spines.

subfam.Paraoxypilinae

Subfamily Amorphoscelidinae

Key to genera
1. Pronotum of greater length than width.

genus Paramorphoscelis

Pronotum keel-shaped, of greater width than length.

2

2. Anterior femur without marginal spines.

genus Amorphoscelis

Anterior femur with 4 medial marginal spines.

genus Perlamantis

Subfamily Paraoxypilinae

Key to genera
1. Supra-anal plate of female small, transverse.

genus Sphaeromantis

Supra-anal plate of female large, carinate

2

2. Anterior coxa of both sexes spined (heavily in the female).
Female apterous.

3

Anterior coxa of female unarmed, or only lightly so.
Female winged.

4

3. Anterior border of the anterior prothoracic-coxal joint simple.

genus Paraoxypilus

Anterior border of the anterior prothoracic-coxal joint raised in a spine.

genus Myrmecomantis

4. Pronotal disc unarmed.

genus Phthersigena

synonym Glabromantis

Pronotal disc armed with points.

5

5. Superior border of anterior femur abruptly stepped before the end.

genus Metoxypilus

Superior border of anterior femur not stepped, arched.

genus Gyromantis

  • Also mentioned by Giglio-Tos: Triaenocorypha
  • Also mentioned by Beier: Nesoxypilus
  • Balderson 1984 includes Cliomantis G-Tos, but description in G-Tos has pronotum much longer than broad; ? belongs in Compsothespinae

Back to key to Amorphosclididae

Back to key to families

Family Eremiaphilidae

Key to genera
Tarsal segmentation 5:5:5

genus Eremiaphila

Tarsal segmentation 4:3:3

genus Heteronutarsus

Back to key to families

Family Empusidae

Key to subfamilies
1. Pronotum slim, always much longer than anterior coxa.
The lobe on the posterior aspect of the distal anterior coxa prolonged into a sharp spine.

subfam. Empusinae

Pronotum about the same length as anterior coxa, or only a little longer.
The lobe on the posterior aspect of the distal anterior coxa does not form a spine.

subfam. Blepharodinae

Subfamily Empusinae

Key to genera
1. Posterior four femora with dorsal preapical lobes.
Front femora expanded with a dorsal lobe.

genus Gongylus

Posterior four femora without dorsal preapical lobes.
Front femora not very expanded, the superior border straight, or almost straight.

2

2. Posterior four femora, or at least the middle femora, with lobes.

3

Posterior four femora simple, without lobes.

4

3. Geniculate spine of posterior four femora short.

genus Empusa

synonyms Phantoma Risso, Ampusa Rambur

Geniculate spine of posterior four femora long, the tip overlapping the apical lobe.

genus Hemiempusa

4. Dorsal spike of frontal sclerite curved.
The distal membranous portion of protuberance on vertex shorter than the thick basal portion.

genus Idolomorpha

Dorsal spike of frontal sclerite straight.
The distal membranous portion of protuberance on vertex longer than the thick basal portion.

genus Hypsicorypha

Back to key to Empusidae

Back to key to families

Subfamily Blepharodinae

Key to genera
1. Anterior coxa with broad lobe.

genus Idolum

? synonym Idolomantis Uvarov 1940

Anterior coxa without broad lobe.

2

2. Posterior 4 femora with preapical lobes.

genus Blepharopsis

synonym Blepharis Serville (non Blepharis Cuvier)

Posterior 4 femora without preapical lobes.

genus Blepharodes

synonym Phlaebarodes G-Tos

Back to key to Empusidae

Back to key to families


 

 

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