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Mea culpa!

August 6, 2015
by

One of the purposes of writing FoF blogs is to showcase the weird and wonderful world of fauna that exists in our valley. Taking the pictures is the easy bit. Identifying the critters is much harder (and for me, much more fun). I am not an entomologist, zoologist or any other -ologist. The veracity of the identifications should be considered taking into account those aforementioned qualifications, or lack thereof. Sometimes I later find I have identified a species incorrectly and rarely, even a genus. I do my best. Flicking through past blogs I discovered a bigger mistake than that. DSCN3196In a recent blog I identified the insect pictured left as a praying mantis, because of the barbed front legs and the way they were held. At least I got the insect bit right. It is in fact a Mantis Fly (Campion sp.). Curiously it is neither a mantis nor is it a fly. It is a type of lacewing, also known as a Mantid Lacewing. Obviously in the identification process I even got the insect family wrong. . DSCN0865The adult Mantis Fly is predatory, catching insects in the same way as a praying mantid does – with its barbed front legs. After mating the females lay thousands of eggs attached to tiny stalks. The larvae feast on spider eggs by getting into a spider egg sac and then sucking out the content of the eggs. They then pupate inside the egg sac. For those of you who saw the original blog and have been distressed about the initial identification, mea culpa. It won’t happen again.

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