|scientific name Ochthera mantis |
common name Mantis Fly
Found primarily on sandy or muddy shores, with larvae being aquatic.
Depends on area collected, likely in the summer in Alberta.
Identifying individuals down to genus is fairly simple, due to their large raptorial forelegs. Identifying down to species level is more complicated though, due to the fact that Ochthera mantis was originally a complex of species (Clausen, 1977). This means that colour differences, and genital differences, especially on the males are key in identifying them. The head has no markings, and the tarsi of the front legs are a dark brown or a black colour. In the males, the aedeagus, which is a part of the genitalia that aids in delivering the spermatophore is a smooth scythe shape, while in other species it is shaped otherwise, or spiny (Clausen, 1977). In females, the sixth visible segment of the abdomen, also known as a sternite, is short, broad, and much wider than the second sternite, with the seventh sternite being slightly shorter than the sixth.
As with other members of Ochthera, O. mantis is carnivorous in nature. The adults feed on other insects, and the aquatic larvae feed on the larvae of other insects, especially chironimids.
This species is found in the Northern Hemisphere only, and occurs mainly in the northern United States and throughout most of Canada, even into Alaska and the Yukon Territory. It has been found in Northern Europe as well.
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