Mantispids have the most amazing lifecycle of any creature on earth. Period.

newly hatched mantispid larvae await the ride of their lives

..but I would love to be convinced that there is something even cooler.  The larvae of the order Neuroptera have the most incredible repertoire of ambush predation…someday I hope to illustrate the best of them!

This illustration was by far for me the most fascinating to research and I learned about this creature in so many ways, on so many disparate levels.  It could very well be the coolest creature on our planet today.

I feel bad for the spiders, but all life on the planet is preyed on from microbes or fungus on up at some point in their existence.

let me know what you think!  or if you know of other crazy relationships among insects and spiders!

tenderly feeding from within the protected eggsac 

2 thoughts on “Mantispids have the most amazing lifecycle of any creature on earth. Period.

  1. Hi, I stumbled over your great illustrations when searching the web for images of mantispid larvae ‘aboard spider’! I am a neuropterologsist working on mantsipids, and I have recently described a mantispid larva right on the back of a clubionid spider in Baltic amber. Try to google spider-rider, your will soon find a link. I have recently given a talk on this finding on an international conference, and it is a pity that your great illustrations were unknwon to me then!

  2. Greetings Michael. Your paper was excellent! a great summary of the significance of this find. I have read all of Kurt Redborg’s available literature when I had researched the illustration, and the subject continues to fascinate me to my limits! Perhaps my favorite relationship in the invertebrate world. If it wasn’t for his photographs, we wouldn’t have hardly any to reference.
    Incredible that the mantispid larva remained attached while suffocating on amber. What an incredible find…hopefully more will be found soon!
    I wish I could have seen your talk. Do you have other research on Mantispids ongoing?
    Let me know if I can provide any illustrations for your upcoming articles or talks. I can do hyper-realism, or more playful imagery, like the mantispid boarding the spider that you originally found.

    I hope to continue on with this series of illustrations to make a book of bizarre predation/parasitism relationships. I illustrated a mantispid wrapped on a pedicel, but carrying on I would also like to illustrate a larva biding its time in the book lungs of the spider….but the perspective would be from the inside of the book lungs looking out.

    Stay in touch, thank you for commenting on my blog!

    Marlin