Length: 15-20 mm
Davidson (1969) reported on the life history of this species (he used the earlier name Mantispa viridis), based on a female he captured by sweeping the vegetation near Carderock, Maryland. The mantisfly laid 528 stalked eggs in the laboratory and 86% of them hatched. Davidson reported the eggs took 10 days to hatch; instar one lasted 5-7 days, instar two 5-9 days, and instar three 11-13 days. Pupation took place inside "flimsy silk cocoons" and lasted 15 days.
The first instar larvae were very active in searching out food. When presented with spider eggs they began feeding, and soon grew distended (three times their previous size) and lost the ability to walk.
Davidson was presented with a dilemma during the third instar, when he was unable to provide more spider eggs and the larvae went unfed for four days. Finally he offered them Cabbage Loopers (Lepidoptera larvae) and they feed on those.
Range data for the United States is given on the map below. Note that Zeugomantispa minuta is also found in twenty states of Mexico, and in Argentina, Belize, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Hispaniola, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela (Reynoso-Velasco and Contreras-Ramos, 2008). The species has not been reported from Canada (Cannings and Cannings, 2006).
Photo location: Hickory Flat, Upshur County, West Virginia.
A note about our maps
American Insects site