Take a look at this insect. Does it look like a wasp to you?
If you said yes, we can’t blame you, since it does, indeed, look like one. It has all of the features of a wasp, including the wasp-like head, the recognizable black and yellow stripes, and the bulbous thorax. Even the wings look wasp-like. Yet, you would be wrong.
This is actually a mantidfly — a nocturnal insect from a family named Mantispidae with more than 400 different species.
Let’s have a side-profile view.
Now, it looks less like a wasp and more like a praying mantis. It has the head of a praying mantis and the raptorial front legs of one as well.
It even captures flies and other small insects with its front legs and eats them just like a praying mantis. But it is not a praying mantis either.
In fact, while mantidflies look like a cross between a wasp and a praying mantis, they are not even related to either group of insects. Instead, they are in the order Neuroptera, which consists of insects called lacewings or net-wings.
To see a mantidfly in action, watch the video below. You will see just how much this weird critter resembles wasps and mantises in appearance and behavior.