Miomantis paykullii Stal, 1871
Marabuto, Eduardo, 2014, The Afrotropical Miomantiscaffra Saussure 1871 and M. paykullii Stal 1871: first records of alien mantid species in Portugal and Europe, with an updated checklist of Mantodea in Portugal (Inse, Biodiversity Data Journal 2, pp. 4117-4117: 4117
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|Miomantis paykullii Stal, 1871|
Type status: Other material. Occurrence: recordedBy: Eduardo Marabuto; individualCount: 1; sex: male; Taxon: genus: Miomantis; specificEpithet: paykullii; taxonRank: species; scientificNameAuthorship: Stal, 1871; vernacularName: Egyptian pygmy mantis; Location: continent: Europe; country: Portugal; countryCode: PT; stateProvince: Faro; county: Loulé; municipality: Quarteira; locality: Vila Sol ; verbatimElevation: 40; decimalLatitude: 37.090; decimalLongitude: -08.093; Event: samplingProtocol: ad hoc observation; eventDate: 2014-08-05; habitat: gardenGoogleMaps Type status: Other material. Occurrence: recordedBy: Eduardo Marabuto; individualCount: 1; sex: male; Taxon: genus: Miomantis; specificEpithet: paykullii; taxonRank: species; scientificNameAuthorship: Stal, 1871; vernacularName: Egyptian pygmy mantis; Location: continent: Europe; country: Portugal; countryCode: PT; stateProvince: Faro; county: Loulé; municipality: Quarteira; locality: Vila Sol ; verbatimElevation: 40; decimalLatitude: 37.090; decimalLongitude: -08.093; Event: samplingProtocol: vegetation beating; eventDate: 2014-08-08; habitat: gardenGoogleMaps
Adapted from Giglio-Tos 1927, Ehrmann 2002 and Agabiti et al. 2010: Small or medium sized species. Green or light-brown coloured, patternless except occasional obscured humeral vein. Head broader than the pronotum, especially in the male. Eye prominent, slightly conical, more apparent in male but not ending in a spine. Pronotum slender with weakly developed supracoxal dilation, as long as or longer than fore coxa and smooth in male, finely toothed in female. Forewing hyaline in male, more opaque in female, distally dilated and slightly exceeding the tip of the abdomen in the former, only reaching the base of the cerci in the latter. Male hindwing hyaline, female yellowish, crossed by yellow veins. Supra-anal plate longer than broad, triangular. Foreleg unpatterned, coxa finely toothed with 5-6 spaced small spines stronger in female. Femur with 4 discoidal spines and 4 external. Fore tibia with 7 external spines. Body length: 36-39mm; pronotum length: 11-12mm in male, to 14mm in female; forewing length 23mm in male, 19-21mm in female.
Both observed specimens are adult-stage males conforming well with the descriptions of the species available ( Ehrmann 2002, Battiston et al. 2010). The first is illustrated in Fig. 1. This specimen is a straw-coloured and patternless mantis with a darker forewing radial vein. Both forewings and hindwings are hyaline, forewings being slightly less transparent and brownish. Head is short with prominent conical eyes. The raptorial forelegs bear the typical spine scheme of the genus and species: 5-6, 4, 7. Biometrics: pronotum length: 10mm; whole body length: 38mm; forewing length: 26mm; fore-leg length measurements - coxa: 6.6mm, femur: 8.2mm, tibia: 4.7mm; ratio forewing/ pronotum length: 2.6.
An Afrotropical species cited throughout the biogeographical area, with some island populations. Countries where it has been found are: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Egypt, Ghana, Israel, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Niger, Senegal, Togo, Uganda and Zimbabwe ( Ehrmann 2002, Battiston et al. 2010).
Recorded habitats and distribution in Portugal
The area is a private property garden of the resort Vila Sol where many exotic plant species are planted. Among them, hedges of Phyllostachys aurea and Lantana camara are typical while stands of Pennisetum alopecuroides , Cyperus papyrus and garden turf are widespread with smaller amounts of other exotic species. The only natives are isolated Pinus pinea trees, remnants from the open woodland pre-resort and a hedge of Arbutus unedo . At dusk, several garden lights at ground level are regularly lit and during the night, an automatic irrigation system maintains humidity levels high, even during the summer. Prior to the installment of the resort, the whole area was a dry thermomediterranean open Pinus pinea woodland with mild winters and warm summers on an arenite substrate. The biogeographic province is the Gaditano-Onubo-Algarviense in its Algarviense coastal sector with some notable endemics ( Rivas-Martinez et al. 1990, Costa et al. 1999) and seriously under threat from urban development. This particular site is one already lost as a natural habitat and is home to only the most resilient and human-adapted species.
Ecological plasticity in this species over a broad temperature range accounts for its wide distribution. According to Prete et al. (1999), in Ghana M. paykullii mostly inhabits grasslands, the colour of which (a proxy for humidity levels) determines the final coloration and proportion between brown and green morphs. Presumably, a brown morph develops in a less moist environment. In Ghana, adults display no deimatic behaviour and attempt to fly or walk away from danger ( Edmunds 1972). Adults are also presumably very mobile and active at night and especially sensitive to bat echolocation high frequency sounds (80-100 KHz), thus being able to evade predation ( Prete et al. 1999). This phenomenon has been experimentally tested with the closely related M. natalica Beier, 1930 by Cumming (1996).
Showing a wide distribution centred in the subsaharan African continent, M. paykullii should not be at risk of any kind. However, in the Euro-Mediterranean area, where it has only been found along the Nile valley and nearby areas of Israel, this species has recently been evaluated as at "Potential risk", because of sparse observations for a long time ( Agabiti et al. 2010).
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