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847 Views 8 Replies Last post: May 17, 2013 10:11 PM by awillkey RSS
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May 16, 2013 9:49 PM

Help to identify please?

NY friend in Greece has just shared this picture of an insect she's found, I suspect some sort of Mantis, but not sure- help please? Thankyou.Mantis.jpg

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    May 16, 2013 10:35 PM (in response to Dave)
    Re: Help to identify please?

    It is a mantis, and I think it is Empusa fasciata.

     

    Alan

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    May 16, 2013 10:35 PM (in response to Dave)
    Re: Help to identify please?

    Note the crest on the head - this points to Empusa - one of the conehead mantids.

    Probably E. pennata or E. fasciata (almost identical). There could be other species of Emusa in Greece.

    The wings show it is an adult (not a nymph, which can look very different)

    The feathery antennae show this is a male.

     

    See also this discussion

    - http://www.nhm.ac.uk/natureplus/message/28438

     

    Mike

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      May 17, 2013 8:34 AM (in response to MikeHardman)
      Re: Help to identify please?

      Mike,

       

       

      Do you think pennata is a real option? I'm not an expert so I looked at wikipedia (I know, take a large pinch of salt) but there it is suggested pennata had a range from Portugal to Italy which would make Greece unlikely.

      I found the following

      http://www.entomologiitaliani.net/public/forum/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?t=7568

      where somebody says fasciata is the only Empusa in Greece. But he has not obvious qualifications to say that. Is there an authoritive source available on the net, to your knowledge, which gives the ranges of different species of mantids?

       

       

      Alan

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        May 17, 2013 4:14 PM (in response to awillkey)
        Re: Help to identify please?

        Hi Alan,

         

        I don't have a definitive answer, but E. pennata is listed as one of the four species of mantid in Cyprus, and Cyprus is obviously east of Italy... So Greece has to be at least a reasonable possibility.

         

        Mike

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          May 17, 2013 8:28 PM (in response to MikeHardman)
          Re: Help to identify please?

          There seems to be a general agreement that it is difficult to tell these two apart (pennata and fasciata). The best I could come up with was this website (how's your French?).

           

          http://mantes-exotiques.forumactif.com/t2146-difference-entre-empusa-pennata-et-fasciata

           

          The "expert" - Bruno, a moderator - declares the following:

           

          Hanches intermédiaires et postérieures avec un lobe arrondi : E. fasciata

          Hanches intermédiaires et postérieures sans un lobe : E. pennata

           

          Now my French is somewhat rusty so it's a good job there's a picture lower down which I hope is illustrating the lobe on the haunches and it seems to point to knobbly bits just before the leg joint. Looking again at the photo in this thread there seem to me to be small knobbly bits. What do you think?

           

          Alan

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            May 17, 2013 9:36 PM (in response to awillkey)
            Re: Help to identify please?

            Alan,

             

            Thanks for digging that up.

             

            Translation:

            "Intermediate and posterior hips with a rounded lobe - E. fasciata

            Intermediate and posterior hips without a lobe - E. pennata"

             

            I see the lobes indicated by the two black lines in the photo.

            They are also obvious here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Empusa_fasciata.jpg

            I see those lobes in my the photo at the start of this topic (and in my photo too).

             

            But...

            I have yet to find a photo of an Empusa distinctly without lobes (often the camera angle makes it ambiguous).

            Most of the images returned by searches for 'Empusa fasciata' and 'Empusa pennata' show lobes. Obviously we're expecting many to be wrong, but we'd also expect some to be correct...

             

            Aha - I think we're looking at the wrong lobes!

            The lobes in question are closer to the body.

             

            The 'lobes' method is cited in several places, and the rough ovals in this photo show where to look for the lobes (http://imageshack.us/a/img6/7872/empusafasciatafemale1.jpg)

            There is also a useful comparative diagram (http://www.insecte.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=76&t=102125).

            That shows that one has to consider the sex of the animal as well (dashed or solid lines) re E. pennata and E. pennicornis.

            Bearing that in mind, the photo at the start of this topic shows no lobes, suggesting Empusa pennata or E. pennicornis.

             

            I don't know which of those species are listed for Greece. But the book 'Mantids of the Euro-Mediterranean Area' should answer that. Some of it is here - http://www.biodiversityassociation.org/sito_spa/pdf/book3.pdf

            (it also includes a key)

             

            If we can determine that, I think we're there...

             

            Mike

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