Thursday, December 1, 2011

As thin as a thread

I was in the kitchen doing something, when I noticed something on my hand.

At only about a cm long, I initially thought it was an out-of-season mosquito.  Only upon closer inspection could I tell that it's front legs were arranged somewhat mantis-like.  A miniature preying mantis?  I've never seen a live one in North America.  However, unlike a mantis, it's antennae were as long as its legs.  This particular fellow seemed a bit frail, walking slowly with it's hind four legs, not once stretching out its frazzled wings.
Looking like a cross between a mantis and a fly, I used those as search terms and found photos of actual mantis flies that bore only a slight resemblence to this one. I submitted a photo, an about an hour later the Bugguide volunteers moved to the Thread-legged bugs section.

Much like the preying mantis, the thread-legged bugs walk only on their four hind legs, keeping the front legs poised for catching prey.  Some species specialize in catching spiders (or feasting off the insects caught in the webs).  The native range of this species appears to be properly North America, but I surmised it came in off some vegetables that I was preparing for dinner.  In our recent lower temperatures, there is virtually no winged creature outdoors.


bena said...

You are very observant, Mr. Chu

Konrad said...

yes, observant indeed