Insect Identification
Insect Identification

Brown Mantidfly - (Climaciella brunnea)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 12/5/2013

It looks like a wasp and it looks like a mantid, but it is neither. The Brown Mantidfly is its own kind of special insect.

Picture of Brown Mantidfly

At first glance, Brown Mantidflies can be mistaken for a wasp. The colorful bands, the hairless body and obvious wings are similar traits to the wasp family. There is a bit more to the Brown Mantidfly though, and closer examination reveals a strange conglomeration of physical features not often seen in one insect. They have a long, large prothorax ('shoulders') with mantid-like forelegs containing that wield a single claw used for capturing small insect prey. The female has an ovipositor, a syringe-like tube used to lay eggs. Their wings have lacy vein patterns on them.

In some ways, the Brown Mantidfly is a natural enemy of the Wolf Spider. After hatching from their eggs, Brown Mantidfly larvae eventually make their way into the female Wolf Spider's egg sac during its construction by the mother. Once inside, the Mantidfly larvae begin feasting on the spider eggs. The adult Brown Mantidflies emerge from the spider's egg sac once they have fully matured.

Brown Mantidflies are not usually seen, but when they are, they leave an impression. They are most active from spring through summer and prefer marshes, grasslands, forests and open fields.

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Category: Net-Veined Winged Bug
Common name: Brown Mantidfly
Scientific Name: Climaciella brunnea
Other Names: Mantisfly

  Kingdom: Animalia
   Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
     Order: Neuroptera
      Family: Mantispidae
       Genus: Climaciella
        Species: brunnea

Adult Size (Length): 23mm to 30mm (0.91in to 1.18in)

Identifying Colors: brown; yellow; black

Additional Descriptors: bands, flying, shoulders

North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming

* Keep in mind that insect reach is not governed by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.