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Comprehensive Description

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The Mantophasmatodea was described as an entirely new Order of insects (a rank equivalent to, for example, beetles or termites or mayflies) in 2002 (Klass et al. 2002). However, the question of what rank is used for a particular taxon is somewhat subjective and some investigators have concluded that this group is more appropriately recognized with a different rank, such as a family (Mantophasmatidae) within another Order rather than as a distinct Order. One problem with this approach, however, is that phylogenetic studies have so far indicated, variously, that this group is most closely allied with the Phasmatodea, the Mantodea, and the Grylloblattodea, making it still uncertain which Order would include the Mantophasmatidae (Cameron et al. 2006 and references therein; Damgaard et al. 2008 and references therein). Although mantophasmatids have only been discovered recently, explorations in the field in Africa (and in old museum collections) have led to the recognition of nearly two dozen species (Damgaard et al. 2008).

Eberhard and Picker (2008) studied vibrational communication in two sympatric species of mantophasmatids.

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Mantophasmatidae

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Mantophasmatidae is a family of carnivorous wingless insects within the order Notoptera, which was discovered in Africa in 2001.[2][3] Originally, the group was regarded as an order in its own right, and named Mantophasmatodea, but, using recent evidence indicating a sister group relationship with Grylloblattidae (formerly classified in the order Grylloblattodea),[4][5] Arillo and Engel have combined the two groups into a single order, Notoptera.[1]

Overview

The most common vernacular name for this order is gladiators, although they also are called rock crawlers, heelwalkers, mantophasmids, and colloquially, mantos.[6] Their modern centre of endemism is western South Africa and Namibia (Brandberg Massif),[7] although a relict population, and Eocene fossils suggest a wider ancient distribution.

Mantophasmatodea are wingless even as adults, making them relatively difficult to identify. They resemble a cross between praying mantids and phasmids, and molecular evidence indicates that they are most closely related to the equally enigmatic group Grylloblattodea.[4][5] Initially, the gladiators were described from old museum specimens that originally were found in Namibia (Mantophasma zephyrum) and Tanzania (M. subsolanum), and from a 45-million-year-old specimen of Baltic amber (Raptophasma kerneggeri).

Live specimens were found in Namibia by an international expedition in early 2002; Tyrannophasma gladiator was found on the Brandberg Massif, and Mantophasma zephyrum was found on the Erongoberg Massif.[8]

Since then, a number of new genera and species have been discovered, the most recent being two new genera, Kuboesphasma and Minutophasma, each with a single species, described from Richtersveld in South Africa in 2018.[9]

Biology

Mantophasmatids are wingless carnivores. During courtship, they communicate using vibrations transmitted through the ground or substrate.[10]

Classification

The most recent classification[9] recognizes numerous genera, including fossils:

Some taxonomists assign full family status to the subfamilies and tribes, and sub-ordinal status to the family. In total there are 21 extant species described.[9]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Arillo, A. & M. Engel (2006) Rock Crawlers in Baltic Amber (Notoptera: Mantophasmatodea). American Museum Novitates 3539:1-10
  2. ^ K.-D. Klass, O. Zompro, N.P. Kristensen, J. Adis. Mantophasmatodea: a new insect order with extant members in the afrotropics Science, 296 (2002), pp. 1456–1459
  3. ^ Adis, J., O. Zompro, E. Moombolah-Goagoses, and E. Marais. 2002. Gladiators: A new order of insect. Scientific American 287:60-65.
  4. ^ a b Terry, M.D., and M.F. Whiting. 2005. Mantophasmatodea and phylogeny of the lower neopterous insects. Cladistics 21(3): 240–257.
  5. ^ a b S. L. Cameron, S. C. Barker & M. F. Whiting (2006). "Mitochondrial genomics and the new insect order Mantophasmatodea". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 38 (1): 274–279. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2005.09.020. PMID 16321547.
  6. ^ "Biodiversity Explorer: Mantophasmatodea". Iziko. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  7. ^ Zompro, O.; Adis, J.; Weitschat, W. (2002). "A review of the order Mantophasmatodea (Insecta)". Zoologischer Anzeiger. 241: 269–279.
  8. ^ Zompro, O.; Adis, J.; Bragg, P.E.; Naskrecki, P.; Meakin, K.; Wittneben, M.; Saxe, V. (2003). "A new genus and species of Mantophasmatidae (Insecta: Mantophasmatodea) from the Brandberg Massif, Namibia, with notes on behaviour". Cimbebasia. 19: 13–24.
  9. ^ a b c Wipfler, B; Theska, T; Predel, R (2018). "Mantophasmatodea from the Richtersveld in South Africa with description of two new genera and species". ZooKeys. 746: 137–160. doi:10.3897/zookeys.746.14885. PMC 5904538.
  10. ^ Randall, J. A. (2014). "Vibrational Communication: Spiders to Kangaroo Rats". Biocommunication of Animals: 103–133.
  11. ^ Huang, Di-ying; Nel, André; Zompro, Oliver; Waller, Alain (2008-06-11). "Mantophasmatodea now in the Jurassic". Naturwissenschaften. 95 (10): 947–952. doi:10.1007/s00114-008-0412-x. ISSN 0028-1042.
  12. ^ Eberhard, MJB, MD Picker and KD Klass. (2011). Sympatry in Mantophasmatodea, with the description of a new species and phylogenetic considerations. Organisms Diversity & Evolution 11(1): 43-59.[1]

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Mantophasmatidae: Brief Summary

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Mantophasmatidae is a family of carnivorous wingless insects within the order Notoptera, which was discovered in Africa in 2001. Originally, the group was regarded as an order in its own right, and named Mantophasmatodea, but, using recent evidence indicating a sister group relationship with Grylloblattidae (formerly classified in the order Grylloblattodea), Arillo and Engel have combined the two groups into a single order, Notoptera.

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