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Brown Mantidfly (Climaciella brunnea)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Brown Mantidfly

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Image Credit: Karl M., taken in Shoreview, MN
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It looks like it's part wasp and part brown mantis, but the Brown Mantidfly is its own kind of special insect.

Updated: 01/02/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
At first glance, Brown Mantidflies can be mistaken for a wasp. The alternating yellow, black, and brown bands on the abdomen and hairless body seem like obvious indicators. Even the vein pattern on its wings is similar to that found in the wasp family. There is a bit more physiology to the Brown Mantidfly though, and closer examination reveals a strange mix of features not often seen in one insect. They have a long, large prothorax ('shoulders') with forelegs made famous by the Praying Mantis. It contains a single claw that is used for capturing small insects. The female has an ovipositor, a syringe-like tube used to lay eggs, at the tip of her abdomen.

Indirectly, the Brown Mantidfly is a natural enemy of the Wolf Spider. After hatching from their eggs, Brown Mantidfly larvae inconspicuously make their way into a female Wolf Spider's egg sac while it is under construction. Once sealed inside, the Mantidfly larvae begin feasting on the spider eggs. Adult Brown Mantidflies emerge from the spider's egg sac once they have fully matured. Sightings of Brown Mantidflies are rare, but when they are spotted, they certainly leave an impression. They are most active from spring through summer and prefer marshes, grasslands, forests and open fields.©InsectIdentification.org

Known Diet of the Brown-Mantidfly

small insects; insect eggs
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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Striped or banded insect icon

Taxonomic Hierarchy

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

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Climaciella brunnea
Other Name(s): Mantisfly; Wasp Mantidfly
Category: Net-Veined Winged Bug
Size (Adult; Length): 23mm to 30mm (0.90" to 1.18")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; yellow; black
Descriptors: bands; flying; shoulders

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 23mm (0.9in) and 30mm (1.2in)
Lo: 23mm
Md: 26.5mm
Hi: 30mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Brown Mantidfly may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Brown Mantidfly. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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