1275 Ecological perspectives for mantis research

Wednesday, December 15, 2010: 10:45 AM
Garden Salon 2 (Town and Country Hotel and Convention Center)
Lawrence E. Hurd , Department of Biology, Washington & Lee University, Lexington, VA
Emerging ecological theory suggests that predation is an organizing force in biodiversity through top-down trophic cascades, and praying mantises are quintessential predators within the most diverse metazoan assemblages on the planet (insects, of course). However, most of what we know about the population biology and community interactions of praying mantises comes from studies of temperate zone ambush predators that were accidentally introduced to the U.S. These include Tenodera aridifolia sinensis, T. angustipennis, Mantis religiosa, and Iris oratoria. In addition, some ecological work has been done on a native North American species, Stagmomantis carolina. However, virtually nothing is documented about the ecology of roughly 20 other species native to the U.S. This dearth of basic ecological information is even more stark when we consider that the vast majority of mantis species (2,000-10,000 or more?) are tropical. The latter include species that are active hunters as well as those that are ambush predators, and still others that may engage in both strategies. Consequently, our ability to generalize about mantises with respect to population regulation, trophic position, or community interactions is both highly constrained and limited at the present time. I present a summary of results from field and laboratory experiments on some of the temperate zone species that have been well studied. Such experiments could, and should be carried out on lesser known species, especially those from the tropics.

doi: 10.1603/ICE.2016.46077