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Solitary wasp



Is this the smallest mantis in the world? Can anyone identify it? I was fishing this Sunday on the banks of the Itabapoana River (ES, Brazil), under a chestnut tree, when I noticed this little guy walking on my arm. At first glance it was just another one of those tiny heart-shaped gaster black tree ants, very common around here, but no. It is certainly the kind of ant that our little friend here wants to mimic (genus Crematogaster or equivalent) but, looking closer, I noticed the triangular shape of the head that was not so common. Looking a little closer came the surprise! I had to bring it to my house and photograph the find. As you can see, it is no more than 3mm in length and is certainly already an adult. Unfortunately part of the right antenna is missing.


State of Espirito Santo, southeastern Brazil.


100% cropping in the second image. Even my macro lens did the job! :)

2 Species ID Suggestions

Solitary Wasp
Dryinidae Dryinidae - BugGuide.Net
bullet ant.....Be careful they are known for a very potent sting! they really heart
Paraponera clavata

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Leonardo Castro
Leonardo Castro a year ago

Thank you, Brian!

Brian38 a year ago

Congratulations Leonardo on your nomination!

Leonardo Castro
Leonardo Castro a year ago

Thank you very much, Ant贸nio!

Your spotting has been nominated for the Spotting of the Week. The winner will be chosen by the Project Noah Rangers based on a combination of factors including: uniqueness of the shot, status of the organism (for example, rare or endangered), quality of the information provided in the habitat and description sections. There is a subjective element, of course; the spotting with the highest number of Ranger votes is chosen. Congratulations on being nominated!

Leonardo Castro
Leonardo Castro a year ago

Thank you Leuba and Maria.

Maria dB
Maria dB a year ago

What an interesting spotting!

Leuba Ridgway
Leuba Ridgway a year ago

Fascinating ! Must keep an eye out for them. thanks for sharing this.

Richard Ong
Richard Ong a year ago

@Leonardo Castro
if it was the Asian Ant Mantis (Odontomantis planiceps)... i would had recognised it straight away as i see them very often around my garden.! ;)

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway a year ago

Looking again I can't help thinking that very pointy abdomen is so waspish and not so mantid. ;-)
I also noticed some very similar around our parts too so something to look for.

Wonderful nature.

Leonardo Castro
Leonardo Castro a year ago

Thank you so much, Mark. Yes, it's a gem!!
Just out of curiosity, a Malaysian version of what I expect to have here (link below). Lots of similarities (compare to my picture 3), but looking closely we actually notice incongruities that distinguish the two.
Still, in any case, the similarities are unsettling!

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway a year ago

Fantastic spotting LC. Thanks for sharing and thank you Richard for ID direction. What a little gem.

Leonardo Castro
Leonardo Castro a year ago

Thank you all for the support. Really.
Oh... what a disappointment, Richard!...
Adopts mantis posture by gathering its grasping forelegs and aiming the target directly with its big eyes, but it is not a mantis (image 3). It has a triangular head with special eye layout and jaws (although not very clear in the images) just like a mantis, but it is not a mantis (image 4). It has "false pupils" exactly identical to the ones we see in mantis, but it's not a mantis ... (image 4 and 5).
I still think it's an ant-mantis-mimic solitary wasp :) and I think she fooled me with this super ingenious outfit!
Thank you very much for helping me with this intriguing puzzle.

Richard Ong
Richard Ong a year ago

not a mantis but an ant-mimic solitary wasp in the family Dryinidae (distributed worldwide)... and seems to be a female as females of most spp. are wingless and usually have a chelate foretarsus for grasping the host bug during oviposition. antennae are 10-segmented.!

Jae a year ago

Nice one, Leonardo. You must have a keen eyesight :)
I have no idea which species this is, but perhaps it is one in the Dryinidae family.

Machi a year ago

Reminds me of some wingless wasps... but those eyes certainly are unusual

Gary Walton
Gary Walton a year ago

Maybe its an ant pretending to be a mantis? But really, this is a tough one and I'm no ant or mantis expert. The eyes on this insect are very un-antlike and I do see that the forelegs are enlarged and folded back, too. I hope you decide to go fishing there again and find more of these.

Leonardo Castro
Leonardo Castro a year ago

Thanks for commenting, Gary17. I have other photos from my essay. They were not very good because the equipment was not suitable for such dimensions, but I managed to get them back. Hope they serve to reinforce my hypothesis. I just included them in the spotting.

Gary Walton
Gary Walton a year ago

A tough one. But if this is a mantis shouldn't it have enlarged grasping forelegs? The eyes and head shape remind me of a mantis though.

Leonardo Castro
Leonardo Castro a year ago

In my searching so far I've found the Odontomantis genus, but it seems this one is from Asia only ( Would there be an equivalent genus of Brazil, perhaps? And if my specimen is an adult, its closest Asian version (Odontomantis) is much larger. It really puzzled me...

Leonardo Castro
Spotted by
Leonardo Castro

Bom Jesus do Itabapoana, RJ, Brazil

Spotted on Aug 18, 2019
Submitted on Aug 18, 2019

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