1270 The mantodean egg case: Utility as a taxonomic character and its functional diversity

Wednesday, December 15, 2010: 8:50 AM
Garden Salon 2 (Town and Country Hotel and Convention Center)
Julio Rivera , Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola, La Molina, Peru
Hiromi Yagui , Museo de Entomología Klaus Raven Buller, Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina, Lima, Peru
Praying mantids (Order Mantodea), along with cockroaches (Blattaria) and termites (Isoptera) constitute the monophyletic superorder Dictyoptera. A well-established synapomorphy that defines the monophyly of Dictyoptera is the formation of an egg case or ootheca, a complex structure that is formed during oviposition to provide mechanical support and protection to the eggs. Mantids lay their egg cases on different substrates among the vegetation and multiple selective pressure have lead to the evolution of a wide array of structural modifications. Such modifications presumably provide egg cases with cryptic attributes, dissimulating their presence within the vegetation and thus escaping predation. The morphological diversity exhibited by mantid egg cases is unique among the Dictyoptera and has seldom been documented in the literature. Features such as oviposition substrate, position and form of attachment, characteristics of the emergence area, as well as shape, texture, color and internal organization, are extremely variable, making a given egg case distinctive for each taxon, at least at the genus level. In this study we present novel data obtained from the analyses of 40 Neotropical mantid genera. Our preliminary observations suggest that the egg case has an enormous potential as a character for taxonomic and even phylogenetic studies and thus deserves further attention from mantid taxonomists.

doi: 10.1603/ICE.2016.46079