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Update: The links in the original post below are no longer active.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)

Agudelo visits ZMUH Collection

In October 2012, Antonio Agudelo visited the Zoological Museum of the University of Hamburg (ZMUH) –  just one station on his long trip through the European collections – meeting with Kai Schütte and Frank Wieland. During his stay, Antonio studied the neotropical Mantodea material.

Kai, Frank and Antonio in the Hemimetabola-collection of the ZMH.

Kai, Frank and Antonio in the Mantodea-collection of the ZMUH.


Close encounters - Antonio meets Idolomantis diabolica

Close encounters – Antonio meets Idolomantis diabolica


Svenson featured on NPR!

Listen to audiocast (link on page) on WKSU, Kent State University’s award-winning NPR News and Classical Music public radio station. Serving more than 20 Ohio counties and parts of Western Pennsylvania, 89.7 WKSU operates from the station’s broadcast center in Kent and via repeater stations at 89.1 WKSV in Thompson, 89.3 WKRW in Wooster, 91.5 WKRJ in New Philadelphia, 90.7 WNRK in Norwalk, and via translator station 95.7 in Ashland.

Thanks to Jeff St. Clair for a well-done broadcast on praying mantis systematics research!

Wieland visits Svenson at CMNH

Last week, Frank Wieland visited Gavin Svenson at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Throughout the week they worked on the Smithsonian Mantodea collection, getting an overview and looking for hidden treasures. One focus lay on the morphology of flower mantises for the ongoing revision of that group.

Wieland and Svenson in the CMNH insect collection.

The CMNH insect collection.







Mantises may look mean but the giant Devonian fish Dunkleosteus, of which many specimens have been found in Ohio, certainly looked meaner…

Dunkelosteus, the giant Devonian fish