Henrique Rodrigues spent four weeks between March and April 2017 in Brazil doing fieldwork. For three weeks he looked for praying mantises for his PhD project, while also looking to increase knowledge on Brazilian biodiversity. He visited five National Parks in two different biomes, the Cerrado (the Brazilian Savannah) and the Atlantic Forest (a complex forest on the east of Brazil), having traveled 2000 miles. After that, he spent another week attending the first workshop dedicated exclusively to praying mantises, which took place in Manaus, at the heart of the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest. He met other praying mantis researchers from around the world and was able to look for mantises from the Amazon.
A new publication in ZooKeys by Henrique M. Rodrigues, Julio Rivera, Neil Reid and Gavin J. Svenson describes a new genus and species of mantid, Hondurantemna chespiritoi. Different cryptic morphologic strategies are noted between immature and adult females. Phylogenetic and morphological analysis places the new genus in the formerly monotypic subfamily Antemninae in the Mantidae family.
A new publication by Sydney Brannoch and Gavin Svenson published in Insect Systematics & Evolution resurrects the genus Ilomantis and describes a new species I. ginsburgae using morphological characters observed on the female genital complex, a novel character system for delimiting mantodean taxa. Ilomantis ginsburgae was named in honor of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg for her relentless fight for women’s rights and gender equality.
See also the article and video on the CMNH website.
A new publication in Systematic Entomology by Svenson et al. describes the revision of the Neotropical horned praying mantis tribe Vatini (Stål) using phylogenetic analysis based on molecular and coded morphological data. The resulting taxonomic treatment includes a new tribe (Heterovatini) within Vatinae containing two historically enigmatic genera. The results also support the synonymy of three genera, the validity of six other established genera, and the identification of one new genus, Alangularis. In addition, the research traces the evolution of the distinctive disruptive camouflage features of this group.
See also the CMNH website article on this research.
Gavin Svenson and Sydney Brannoch travelled to Europe to review mantid collections in Dresden, Prague and Vienna, and present at the Insect Phylogeny conference in Dresden. Many mantid specimens were borrowed from NHM Vienna for research projects at CMNH.
2015 Insect Phylogeny Conference, Dresden
Gavin Svenson, Harald Bruckner of NHM Vienna, and Sydney Brannoch on the roof of the museum in Vienna
Some of the borrowed specimens
Legendre F, Nel A, Svenson GJ, Robillard T, Pellens R, Grandcolas P (2015) Phylogeny of Dictyoptera: Dating the Origin of Cockroaches, Praying Mantises and Termites with Molecular Data and Controlled Fossil Evidence. PLoS ONE 10(7): e0130127. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0130127
See the paper here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_iJfIsJ4GB0anFZODhMekMxWU0/view?usp=sharing