Praying Mantis NZ
I am in Dunedin New Zealand and I have found a facinating looking Praying Mantis. It is approximately 13 – 15mm long and looks like a mosquito at first glance. The photos do not show it well but the legs are covered in fine hairs, and it has long antennae coming off its tiny head. As far as i knew there were only two types of Mantis in New Zealand, and I’ve never seen anything like this before. Can you tell me what it is?
Chirsty Brett.

Hi Chirsty,
This is not a Mantid. It is a Thread-Legged Assassin Bug, one of the Hemipterans or True Bugs. It looks very similar to the genus Stenolemus pictured on BugGuide. Sasha Azevedo who posted the photos there has researched the following information, but sadly, did not credit the source: “The Stenolemus assassin bugs hunt spiders by aggressively mimicking insects caught in the web.”

Update: (02/05/2007)
Thread-Legged Assassin Bug from New Zealand
Hi Bugman,
In response to your recent poster’s message regarding Stenolemus and aggressive mimicry, I left no source because I gathered information from a few statements and put it into my own words. However, if you’re interested in the link that was used, this is it below. Good luck. 🙂
Sasha Azevedo (

2 Responses to Thread-Legged Assassin Bug from New Zealand

  1. drswanny says:

    This is indeed a species of Stenolemus, and there are about a half-dozen species in Australia and a few more in New Guinea. I believe that S. bituberus and S. bispinosus are two of the more common species in the region.

  2. Stephen Thorpe says:

    Stenolemus fraterculus Wygodzinsky, 1956

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