Dicromantispa sayi

Photograph by Mark Sturtevant.

Photography contest, Winner.

Mantid fly
Dicromantispa sayi – mantidfly. The photographer writes, "Mantidflies belong to the insect order Neuroptera and are related to more familiar insects like lacewings and antlions. Adult mantidlfies clearly show convergent evolution with praying mantids, which are members of a completely different insect order. Both kinds of insects are visual predators that use their raptorial forelimbs to grab up insect prey. Mantid fly biology is otherwise very different from praying mantids. These insects have a larval stage, and during this stage they are parasitoids on other insects or spiders. ‘Parasitoid’ is the technically accurate term since they kill their hosts rather than merely encumber them. The larva of this species of mantidfly enters the egg sac of a spider (usually one belonging to a jumping spider) and eats the eggs, all while the female spider is guarding them!"