That’s right, this special one visited my home garden one afternoon and allowed me to grab some shots. The mantidfly are categorized in the order Neuroptera along with the lacewings.
Probably obvious, this species is believed to mimic the paper wasps (Polistes) as a potential deterrent to predation. Without a close glance, it would be easy to mistake this species for a wasp with the potential to deliver a nasty sting.
As if their appearance wasn’t crazy enough, larvae of the Mantispinae, the subfamily this species belongs to, feed by paristizing spiders and their eggs!
These photos were taken on a WGNSS Nature Photography Group field trip into the St. Francois Mountains in early June, 2019.
Along with a couple of female eastern collared lizards, we found quite a few other herps of interest.
These lizards are really great photographic subjects. They are relatively easy to photograph, allowing for watching while they bask in the sunlight of a clear day without much manipulation or interference necessary.