New Species?
August 16, 2009
I was on the back of a pickup when a friend of mine noticed a yellow jacket on the bed, so I stepped on it. It wasn’t dead, and my friend noted that it was an extremely weird yellow jacket. I took a closer look at it and noticed that it was not a yellow jacket, it was a praying mantis. They’ve been discovered around where I and my friends discovered this one before, and I could not find any information on this species on the internet. When I stepped on this insect, its claws came off, but I recovered them off of the bed of the pickup. Also, there was some damage done to the abdomen where a possible stinger may have been, if this is a crossbreed, but I cannot tell.

Wasp Mantifly:  Unnecessary Carnage

Wasp Mantifly: Unnecessary Carnage

Dear SZW,
We hope that had your realized that this was not a Yellow Jacket, you would have refrained from stepping on it.
It is a harmless Wasp Mantidfly, Climaciella brunnea, or perhaps a related species.  It is related to neither wasps nor mantids, but is in the same insect order as lacewings and antlions.  It is a beneficial predator and it cannot sting or otherwise hurt you.

Yes, had I known I would not have stepped on it. Since I realized that I made a mistake, I am attempting to preserve this insect. It died in the container en route home. That pin is not in the insect, it is keeping it standing strait so it does not curl when it dries, so I can put it in with my collection. Well, thanks for letting me know what it is. I’m off to type a label.

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Location: Idaho

5 Responses to Wasp Mantidfly: Trampled after mistaken identity

  1. dymonsnrust says:

    I had a Mantidfly for a pet a couple of years ago. I became really attached to her. Fed her moths and other insects. She was easy to care for a seemingly friendly. She also smelled like Maple syrup. I’ve been looking for another but haven’t been lucky enough to find one. I am disgusted that this one was killed in ignorance. Sad state of affairs. It would have been really sad if it were the last of it’s kind.
    Think before you swat!

  2. mark says:

    I live in far NW Illinois- found one of these on a friends wall and got out the NA guide to insects and butterflies and found out it was harmless- let it crawl on my hand to show the kids and let them know it doesn’t sting. Thanks for the info on the species- love to find new bugs!! (at least new to me)

  3. rob says:

    Why even kill a yellowjacket that is not harming anything.

  4. Brenda Stevenson says:

    I live in nevada. I scooped one of these mantidflies out of my swimming pool in the summer of 2020. Wasn’t until a year later watching a youtube video “DEEP DIVE” i saw this unusual bug (that i kept and preserved in resin) photo by Katja Schulz, that i looked further. They are Found in British Columbia and other out skirting areas. Long flight for the little fly to have made it into Nevada. Sadly only to drowned in my pool? Could there be more migrating to the US?

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