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A New Species of Praying Mantis from Peru Reveals Impaling as a Novel Hunting Strategy in Mantodea (Thespidae: Thespini)

Abstract

A new species of lichen-mimicking praying mantis, Carrikerella simpira n. sp., is described from Tingo María region in Peru. The new species differs from its congeners in having reduced tergal lobes, a relatively sinuous pronotum, and it is found in the highland tropical rainforest of the Central Andes. Behavioral observations conducted on captive individuals revealed that juveniles and adults hunt by impaling prey using modified foretibial structures. Anatomical examinations of the incumbent trophic structures revealed functional adaptations for prey impaling in the foretibiae, primarily consisting of prominent, forwardly oriented, barbed spines. We provide an overall description of this novel hunting behavior in Mantodea and hypothesize on its evolutionary origin and adaptive significance for the Thespidae.

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Acknowledgments

We are thankful to Eduardo Flores, Frank Wieland, and Clorinda Vergara Cobián for their assistance and feedback. We are especially indebted to Michel Barbachán (Facultad de Ciencias de la Comunicación, Universidad de Lima, Perú) for producing and editing video footage, and José María Espinoza (Centro de Aprendizaje Abierto, UNALM) for assisting us with 3D printing procedures. We also thank Jason Weintraub (Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, Philadelphia, USA) and Gavin J. Svenson (Cleveland Museum of Natural History) for enabling the analysis of relevant type specimens. Proyecto 4 VLIR/UOS-UNALM and Unidad de Innovación Educativa-UNALM provided funding support for 3D modeling and printing to YC.

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Contributions

JR planned the study, conducted taxonomic procedures, and wrote the manuscript; JR and YC conducted behavioral observations; YC generated images, digital renderings, 3D models, and contributed to writing the manuscript.

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Correspondence to J. Rivera.

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Edited by RC Castilho – FCAV/UNESP

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ZooBank registration can be found at: http://zoobank.org/urn:lsid:zoobank.org:pub:64D19F6F-DA96-4667-A34C-8C087663DFC6

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Rivera, J., Callohuari, Y. A New Species of Praying Mantis from Peru Reveals Impaling as a Novel Hunting Strategy in Mantodea (Thespidae: Thespini). Neotrop Entomol 49, 234–249 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13744-019-00744-y

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Keywords

  • Heterochrony
  • mimicry
  • behavior
  • 3D printing
  • Carrikerella