New Pub! Hymenopodidae Revision

Svenson, G.J., Hardy, N.B., Wightman, H. and Wieland, F. 2015. Of flowers and twigs: phylogenetic revision of the plant-mimicking praying mantises (Mantodea: Empusidae and Hymenopodidae) with a new suprageneric classification. Systematic Entomology Online


See the paper at:

See the CMNH website story on this publication here.

New Pub! Wieland 2013

Wieland, F. 2013. The phylogenetic system of Mantodea (Insecta: Dictyoptera). – Species, Phylogeny & Evolution 3,1: 3-222.

Praying mantises (Mantodea) are a charismatic group of raptorial insects. Their main distribution encompasses the tropical and subtropical regions of the world where they have conquered almost every habitat including the sandy deserts. Mantodea are well-known to the public. Their highly moveable heads and an impressive appearance, ranging from conspicuously colourful to well-camouflaged and plant-like, add to their popularity.

Despite their often fantastic looks and interesting behaviour, Mantodea have been mostly neglected by science in the past century. A renaissance of praying mantis research by both molecular and morphological means has recently started to contribute immensely to our understanding of these fascinating insects and their evolution.

This volume presents the first phylogenetic analysis of Mantodea based exclusively on an extensive morphological dataset comprising the description and detailed discussion of 152 morphological characters for 122 species from the greater part of the taxonomical subgroups. Observations on fossil mantises, postembryonic development, and sexual dimorphism are considered for tracing character evolution, and the results are compared with the latest molecular findings.

The structures of many rare taxa are shown in detail for the first time, including the forelegs of Chaeteessa, Mantoida, and Metallyticus. Selected characters and their evolution are elucidated in further detail, for example head processes, asymmetrical male antennomeres, female digging structures, and the aberrant foreleg morphology of Chaeteessa and Metallyticus. Hypotheses on the early evolution of the mantodean lifestyle are presented.

This monograph contains more than 460 figures, including detailed drawings and SEM images of morphological structures, making this volume the most comprehensive work on mantodean morphology to date.

Wieland 2013 cover

German Mantodea research article for kids

GEOlino, Germany’s biggest science and nature journal for kids, published an article on Mantodea research in the April issue. It describes Frank Wieland’s and Kai Schütte’s work on mantodean systematics and morphology. In addition to the article there is an online movie clip presenting pictures of mantises, the entomology collection of the Zoological Museum of Hamburg as well as an interview with Frank talking about mantis research.

Click here for watching the movie clip.


Peru Trip- 2013

Update: The links in the original post below are no longer active. However, you can view two videos on the CMNH YouTube site here and here.

Gavin Svenson, Nate Hardy, and Julio Rivera are departing on a two week collecting trip to the Loreto Province in northern Peru. You can follow this trip at the CMNH website where tracking information and from the field updates will be posted.

Otherwise you can see the tracking updates directly from our GPS link mapping site, which provides location data and location posts throughout the trip.

New Pub! Rafter et al. 2013


1. Monarch caterpillars, Danaus plexippus (Linnaeus), feed on milkweed plants in the genus Asclepias and sequester cardenolides as an anti–predator defence. However, some predators are able to consume this otherwise unpalatable prey.

2. Chinese mantids, Tenodera sinensis (Saussure), were observed consuming monarch caterpillars by ‘gutting’ them (i.e. removing the gut and associated internal organs). They then feed on the body of this herbivore without any apparent ill effects.

3. How adult T. sinensis handle and consume toxic (D. plexippus) and non–toxic [Ostrinia nubilalis (Hübner) and Galleria mellonella (Linnaeus)] caterpillars was explored. The differences in the carbon/nitrogen (C:N) ratio and cardenolide content of monarch tissue consumed or discarded by mantids were analysed.

4. Mantids gutted monarchs while wholly consuming non–toxic species. Monarch gut tissue had a higher C:N ratio than non–gut tissue, confirming the presence of plant material. Although there were more cardenolide peaks in the monarch body compared with gut tissue, the total cardenolide concentration and polarity index did not differ.

5. Although T. sinensis treated toxic prey differently than non–toxic prey, gutting did not decrease the mantid’s total cardenolide intake. As other predators consume monarch caterpillars whole, this behaviour may be rooted in species–specific vulnerability to particular cardenolides or simply reflect a preference for high–N tissues.

Rafter, J.L., Agrawal, A.A. & Preisser, E.L. 2013. Chinese mantids gut toxic monarch caterpillars: avoidance of prey defence? – Ecological Entomology 38(1): 76-82.

New Pub! Ariza et al. 2012

Abstract Species of mantids from the Department of Tolima, Colombia, were identified from specimens collected in the field and from material deposited in the “Museo del Laboratorio de Entomología” from “Universidad del Tolima”. Surveys were carried out in the Coello River Basin; the area was divided into ten sections according to the altitude; two
points were chosen in each section and mantids were collected from 100 m2 transects. Each site was surveyed for 45 minutes. In Tolima 22 species of mantids were found, including a possible new species in the genera Acanthops and the new record from Colombia Parastagmatoptera serricornis. Pseudomiopteryx infuscata is confirmed from Colombia. Descriptive figures of oothecae and genitalia of some collected species are shown.

Ariza, G.M., Salazar E., J.A., & Canal, N.A. 2012. Especies y distribución de los mántidos (Mantodea) del departamento del Tolima, Colombia. – Revista entomologia 38(2): 282-290. (In Spanish)