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Gladiator bug

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Gladiator bug
Example.jpg
Scientific Classification
Genus

Subfamily: Mantophasmatinae

  • Mantophasma
  • Austrophasma
  • Hemilobophasma
  • Karoophasma
  • Lobatophasma
  • Namaquaphasma
  • Praedatophasma
  • Sclerophasma
  • Tyrannophasma

Subfamily: Tanzaniophasmatinae

  • Tanzaniophasma[1]

Gladiator bugs are any of the species of bugs belonging to the taxonomic family Mantophasmatidae. They were discovered in Namibia, South Africa, 2001. There body color can be green, brown, gray, and yellow. They are a mixture between praying mantids and phasmids. Also known as heel walkers, rock crawlers,and Mantophasmids. There wingless insects that like to be in the grass. There is still more information being found out about the Gladiator bug because it is still somewhat recent of a discovery. Gladiators bug had gotten there common name because people studying the new found insect said that it looked somewhat like a Gladiators because even though there has only been four different colors of Gladiators, there have spots and tints that make some of them look very unique. [2]

Anatomy

The male and female Gladiators are wingless insects, that have a body length of anywhere between 0.35-0.94 with out there antenna's. The female Gladiators are typically bigger than the males. Gladiators have antenna's with several different segments, the antenna's are thin and slender, almost thread like. Different sizes of albeit lacking ocelli, make up the Gladiators well developed compound eyes. To eat their prey the Gladiators have two mouthparts, the mandibulate and hypognathous. Both of these mouthparts are typically pointed downward in the Gladiators mouth for easier chewing. Gladiators also have a very unique abdomen because it is segmented in ten parts for males and a 11th reduced segment for the females. Three pairs of process valves that all together form a short ovipositor and in the eighth and ninth segment of the abdomen. They have a lattered claw like feature in the eighth segment of the abdomen from the third and second valve. Gladiators have a five segmented Tarsi,the foreleg and somewhat in the mid legs are distinctly thickened by the femora,with small,thin hind legs. The tibiae of the forelegs and mid legs help render the legs for grabbing prey by bearing on the inner surface opposing the femora. Five tarsomeres compromise the Tarsi, except for the three basal ones that are fused with grooves indicating borders.[3]

Reproduction

The reproduction cycle for the Gladiators happens by the getting on to the female and bending his abdomen aside, where the male comes in to contact with back end of the females abdomen and uses his copulatory organs. The male can sit on top of the female for a maximum length of three days until there copulation is finished. Once copulation is finished the female produces 10-20 long egg pods. The eggs are oval shaped that have a hard cover made from sand and gland secretions. For the proper placement of the eggs and the shape is the ovipositors job. After the care of the eggs is done at the eggs will be hatched into nymphs by the rainfall period, then the nymphs have several times of molting. The nymphs will become fully matured by the end of the humid season and all die by the dry seasons, then this life cycle will be repeated over again for the next group of nymphs.[4]

Ecology

Gladiators like dry habitats with occasional rain. That is why South Africa is where they were discovered, its a perfect location for the Gladiators because its dry, has many stones, and has rain for time to time but when it rains it will rain very hard. Since Gladiators are wingless insects, the Gladiators are typically move slow but are very quick when catching prey or when looking for a female to copulate with. Way the Gladiators catch there prey is with there thorny forelegs and mid legs. Gladiators eat many different kinds of insects that are prone to Southern Africa, such as crickets or grass hoppers. Gladiators even eat other Gladiators. Gladiators are commonly alone unless during there copulation period. Day and night there active moving slowly in the grass. [5] [6]

References