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the web of life in southern Africa

Family: Empusidae (cone-headed mantids)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Ecdysozoa > Panarthropoda > Tritocerebra > Arthopoda > Mandibulata > Atelocerata > Panhexapoda > Hexapoda > Insecta (insects) > Dictyoptera > Mantodea (mantids)

The largest mantids are found in the family Empusidae. Empusids are slender and are identified by the spines on their protibia which have alternatively one long spine and two to four shorter spines. They also have leaf-like lobes on the femora. The antennae of the males are elongate and doubly pectinate (comb-like) rather than thin and bare as usually found in the mantids. The Empusidae is made up of eight genera with a small number of species scattered across Africa, the Mediterranean region and Asia. 

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Hemiempusa capensis (Giant Cone-headed Mantid). Body length 85mm. [image by A. Weaving  from Field Guide to Insects of South Africa, used with permission].

Idolomorpha dentifrons. Body length 80mm. [image by M. Picker & C. Griffiths  from Field Guide  to Insects of South Africa, used with permission].

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Empusa guttula. Body length 74mm. [image by M. Picker & C. Griffiths  from Field Guide to Insects of South Africa used with permission].

                    

References

  • Preston-Mafham, K. 1998. Grasshoppers & Mantids of the World.         

Page by Dawn Larsen