Praying mantis 300 million years old?

This video says about itself:

African mantis takes down small mouse.

A video from Japan about praying mantises which used to be on YouTube but is gone now, used to say about itself:

An 87 million-year-old fossil of a mantis found cocooned in amber in Kuji, Iwate Prefecture, is the oldest mantis discovered in this country, according to the Kuji Amber Museum.

The late-Cretaceous fossil was discovered at an excavation site near the museum.

Museum Director Kazuhisa Sasaki found the fossil, which measures about 14 millimeters from the head to the crushed abdomen.

From Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society:

Evidence for Carboniferous origin of the order Mantodea (Insecta: Dictyoptera) gained from forewing morphology …


Homologies of the forewing venation pattern of the order Mantodea (Insecta: Dictyoptera) consistent with the accepted insect wing venation groundplan are proposed. A comparative morphological analysis was carried out based on a broad taxonomic sample of extant taxa. Besides macromorphological aspects, focus is given to the pattern of the tracheal system as a basis for establishing primary homologies.

All extant praying mantids exhibit a composite stem composed of the posterior radius (RP) and the media (M) and most praying mantids exhibit a fusion of the anterior branch of RP + M with the anterior radius (RA).

The wing venation of the species †Mesoptilus dolloi, previously assigned to the polyphyletic fossil assemblage ‘Protorthoptera‘, is re-interpreted in the light of the new homology statement. Our interpretation suggests that it is a putative stem-Mantodea, as are some other ‘protorthopterous’ taxa.

This hypothesis implies that the total-group Mantodea arose as soon as the Late Carboniferous, i.e. about 175 million years earlier than previously estimated. This analysis contributes to the view that most of the Late Carboniferous ‘Protorthoptera’ are stem-representatives of the major polyneopteran clades (e.g. cockroaches [see also here], grasshoppers and crickets, rock-crawlers), suggesting a survivorship of several main Pterygota lineages at the end-Permian extinction event higher than previously expected.

© 2009 The Linnean Society of London, Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2009, 156, 79–113.

Orchid mantis: here.

Boy finds rare pink grasshopper: here.

5 thoughts on “Praying mantis 300 million years old?

  1. Pingback: Mid-Permian extinction of animals, new study | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: ‘Mass extinctions killed less wildlife than thought’ | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: First Cretaceous African amber deposit discovered | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Caribbean praying mantises’ African ancestry | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: New praying mantis species discovered in Peru | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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