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Mantisflies Preying

7-16-18 mantisfly2_U1A1975

There is a small group of insects (family Mantispidae) known as mantisflies, so-called because of their resemblance to small praying mantises. Climaciella brunnea (pictured) is the most commonly encountered mantisfly in the Northeast. Not only does it have the grasping forelegs of a praying mantis, but it also mimics a paper wasp.

A newly hatched Climaciella brunnea larva attaches itself to an arachnid host, preferably a wolf spider. It lives off the blood of the spider until the spider lays eggs, and then the larva positions itself so that it gets wrapped up in the spider’s egg sac along with the eggs.   Once inside the sac the larva feeds on the eggs until it pupates. The adult mantisfly emerges and preys on other insects, often those visiting flowers, and consumes nectar and sap as well. Although they lay an enormous number of eggs, mantisflies are relatively rare.

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7 responses

  1. Laurie Spry

    Sure DOES look like a wasp! And the ingenuity of being wrapped up in the egg coccoon…what will nature try next! Amazing, as always thank you.

    July 16, 2018 at 7:49 am

  2. Alice Pratt

    Wow! Insects are amazing, I am always on the look out in the yard ….am not aware of these..and Iove to see Praying Manti…so far not this year.

    July 16, 2018 at 8:11 am


    Insects so amazing!

    Sent from XFINITY Connect App

    July 16, 2018 at 8:15 am

  4. Anne Woodhull

    Dear Mary. …I love your work in the fields. … I just lost my husband, I know you have had a terrible loss.. .somehow your noticing gives me hope.. .. you are so good at what you do, and it gives sustenance more than you might know. .. I have a question. In the last two days, I have never seen so many Swallowtail butterflies, all on or around the milkweed. ..I would say not hundreds but dozens. . .I am in Londonderry, Vermont. . it looks like everything was just right for them in this time of insect decline! all the best, Annie woodhull


    July 16, 2018 at 8:44 am

    • Bill on the hill

      @ Anne Woodhull & Mary… I too have seen an abundance of swallowtails this season & happily a few monarchs as well here in the highlands of Corinth. I have loads of blossoming milkweed and a healthy mix of insects too.
      Mary, you never cease to amaze me with these posts. Not sure I have seen this bee (?) before. I have the wasps that build the tunnel nests on the side of the house & basement walls…
      Bill Farr…

      July 16, 2018 at 9:11 am

  5. Sally

    Hi Mary,

    This photo was taken Saturday evening, July 14th. Thought you’d appreciate it!

    Had two fox barking right near my back porch for two nights in a row, right between dusk and dark. Recorded the barks. At first I thought it was coyote but after listening to a few youtube recordings determined fox. I did catch a glimpse of just the tips of the ears of one of them.

    Thanks for your beautiful newsletter.

    Blessings, Sally Fisher Worthington, Massachusetts

    July 16, 2018 at 8:56 am

    • Hi Sally,
      I’m afraid WordPress doesn’t publish photos sent in. If you could send it to me at my email address,, I would love to see it! Thank you.

      July 16, 2018 at 9:27 am

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