Dictyoptera Mantodea: India

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This is an extract from
Protozoa to Mammalia
State of the Art.
Zoological Survey of India, 1991.
By Professor Mohammad Shamim Jairajpuri
Director, Zoological Survey of India
and his team of devoted scientists.
The said book is an enlarged, updated version of
The State of Art Report: Zoology
Edited by Dr. T. N. Ananthakrishnan,
Director, Zoological Survey of India in 1980.

Note: This article is likely to have several spelling mistakes that occurred during scanning. If these errors are reported as messages to the Facebook page, Indpaedia.com your help will be gratefully acknowledged.


Dictyoptera Mantodea


The common name of 'praying mantis' has been applied to this grou'p, because of the habit of adults in holding their grasping fore-legs in 'namaste' posture while waiting for the prey. These are carnivorous insects. Their body is elongated, specially the prothorax and the forelegs are long and spinous for capturing prey. They prefer warm moist climate of tropical and sub-tropical zones of the world. Mantids are considered beneficial for their role as predators of insect pests of field crops.

Historical Resume

The mantid fauna of India •was not studied until J. Wood~Mason, the then curator of Indian Museum, who became a pioneer worker on this group of insects in India and contributed good number of publications in 1877, '78, '82, '84, '89, '91.

The other notable workers were Giglio-Tos (1912, '15, '17, '19, '27), Werner (1926, '30, '31, '33, '35) and Beier (1931, '46, '63). Nadkerny (1965) catalogued a total of 55 species present in the collections of the Bombay Natural History Society. Recently in Zoological Survey of India, work on Indian Mantids has been taken up.

Estimation of Taxa

An analysis of known records reveals that about 86 species under 44 genera are known from the North Eastern region. 55 species under 29 genera occur in Southern India. Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Manipur, Tripura, Bihar and Goa are underexplored.

The world fauna of praying mantids consists of 8 families, 28 sub-families, about 360 genera and over 2000 species. Nearly 50% of world fauna occurs in Ethiopian region and about 20% in Oriental region. From India 6 families, 161 species under 67 genera have been recorded so far.

Classified Treatment

Considering their unique distinctive features, mantids are sometimes separated from Order Dictyoptera and dealt as a separate Order Mantodea (Beier, 1964).

Families Metallyticidae, Amorphoscelidae and Eremiaphilidae are represented by only one species each from India. The subfamily Acromantinae, under family Hymenopodidae has 7 species under 2 genera. The better known family Mantidae has 14 subfamilies covering 122 species under 50 genera. The family Empusidae is represented by 2 subfamilies with 7 species under 3 genera.

Current Studies

In Zoological Survey of India a study on the Indian Mantid fauna, under the Collaborative Research Project Scheme, has been conducted by Dr. T.K. Mukherjee of Darjeeling Govt. College.

Expertise India

In Z.S.I

A. K. Hazra, Z.S.I. 'M' Block, New Alipor~, Calcutta -700 053.


T .K. Mukherjee, Deptt. of Zoology, Darjeeling, Govt. College, Darjeeling (West Bengal) ..


A. Kaltenbach, Nature Historisches Museum, Burgring 7, Wien (Austria). J. Balderson, C.S.I.R.O., Division of Entomology, GPO Box 1700, Canberra (Australia).

Selected References

Beier, M. 1930. New and rare Mantodea (Orthoptera) in the British Museum. Ann. Mag Nat. Hisl., (10) 6 : 432-460. Beier, M. 1935. Genera Insectorum. Fascs. : 200,201 and 203. Beier, M. 1968. Ordnung Mantodoa (Fangheuschrecken). Handbuck Der Zooiogie, 4 (2): 2-12,4: 3-12. Giglio -Tos, F. 1927. Orthoptera. Mantodea. Das Tierreich, 50 : 1-70. Marshal, J.A. 1975. A catalogue of primary types of Mantodea (Dictyoptera) in the British Museum (N.H.), Bull. Br. Mus.(N.H.), Entomol., 31 (8):308-329. Roy, R. 1961. Dictyoptera: Mantodea. La Pare National dU'Niokolokaba, fasc. II. Mem.lns. Fr. Agrie. Noire. Dakar, 62 : 91-103, 2 pIs., 8 figs. Wood-Mason, J. 1889. The Ethiopean and Oriental representatives of the Mantodea. I. Asiat. Soc. Bengal, 58 : 306-326. Wood-Mason, J. 1889. A Catalogue ofMantodea, No.1: 1-48, Calcutta.

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