Leptomantispa pulchella

Mantidfly / Mantisfly

Leptomantispa pulchella, Mantisfly

Family: Mantispidae

Length: typically 12-14 mm

Range data for Canada and the United States is given on the map at the bottom of this page. Note that Leptomantispa pulchella is also found in twelve states of Mexico, and in Cuba, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua (Reynoso-Velasco and Contreras-Ramos, 2008; also Cannings and Cannings, 2006).

As of yet there is no West Virginia record for this species, and accordingly we have not included the state on the range map. Nevertheless, we’ve included Leptomantispa pulchella on the Insects of West Virginia web site in a fit of positive thinking, especially since the species has been reported from two contiguous states, Kentucky and Ohio.

Leptomantispa pulchella, lateral view MantidflyWe have colored in Tennessee on the range map, based on the photos on this page (determined by Dr. Kevin Hoffman). Two or three individuals showed up at a BugGuide gathering at the University of Tennessee Field Station near Gatlinburg in 2008, and at least ten of us photographed them, thus providing a new (photographic) state record.

Entomologists have reported success in collecting this species with mercury vapor lamps, with malaise traps, and from vegetation. The only specimen found in eastern Canada was collected by Stephen Marshall in a relict tallgrass prairie (Cannings and Cannings, 2006).

Leptomantispa pulchella hatchlings board spiders, riding on the dorsum and feeding on the spider’s haemolymph. The preferred spider hosts are Ghost Spiders and Jumping Spiders. Eventually the mantisfly nymphs leave the spider and enter the spider’s egg case, where they pass their developmental period feeding on spider eggs.

Leptomantispa pulchella, lateral view Mantidfly, head and thorax lateral view

Leptomantispa pulchella range map

A note about our maps

Insects of West Virginia