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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