Tuesday 8 January 2013

New species of Mantis from Brazil.

Mantises are large predatory insects noted for their grasping spiked forelegs, which are used to grab and hold prey while it is eaten. They are related to Cockroaches and Termites, and do not undergo a full metamorphosis as with most insects, instead developing from a nymph which is essentially a smaller version of the adult, but unable to fly. Most species are stealth predators, though some will actively chase prey down and others have been shown to consume some plant matter. Many species practice sexual cannibalism, with the female consuming the male, head-first, during copulation. This does not appear to put the males off their ardor; they will continue copulating whilst being eaten. Mantises are usually camouflaged, but will put on an aggressive display if threatened. The group is thought to have originated in the Cretaceous and diversified in the early Tertiary. They are found in tropical and warm temperate regions throughout the world.

In a paper published in the journal ZooKeys on 2 November 2012, Eliomar da Cruz Menezes and Freddy Bravo of the Laboratório de Sistemática de Insetos at the Departamento de Ciências Biológicas at the Universidade Estadual de Feira de Santana, describe a new species of Mantis from the Chapada Diamantina Mountain Range in Bahia State, northeastern Brazil.

The new species placed in the Neotropical genus Decimiana, which has five previously described species, three of them from Brazil, and given the specific name elliptica, a reference to the shape of part of the male genitalia. Decimiana elliptica is a 38-43 mm brown Mantis with a striped abdomen, opaque wings and an apical tubercle on the eyes. Only the male of the species is described.

Decimiana elliptica, male specimen. Sa Cruz Menezes & Freddy Bravo (2012).

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