What would you get if you crossed a wasp and a mantis? And no, this isn’t MCU fan fiction. The very real animal kingdom has just such a creature, called a mantisfly. But it is neither praying mantis nor wasp. It’s not even a fly! It mimics a wasp but also has front legs like a mantis. Frankly, it’s enough to question everything you thought you knew about insects, which make up about 80% of all species on Earth.
We learned about this strange bug from Boing Boing after they saw a post on Reddit. The above gif of the mantisfly looks like a wasp but then extends its mantis arms like some kind of Transformer. And that’s not the only wild thing about it. As larvae, they seek out wolf spiders and ride along on their back. If it’s a male spider, they transfer over to a female during mating. When she lays eggs, they transfer to the egg sac and gobble up all her young.
In the video below, an insect enthusiast finds a mantisfly in his backyard and introduces it to other insects to see what will happen. From yeeting ants off its leaf to a confrontation with a real wasp, it’s quite the lineup.
The Insect Hunter YouTube channel includes other videos about cool bugs and how to collect them. And if you want even more bug videos, you can always check out this compilation of insects in flight, kissing bugs feeding on blood, or baby ladybugs hatching.
Now that I’m thinking about it, I would absolutely read The Wasp/Mantis fan fiction. Maybe their offspring would also have super yeeting powers.
Melissa is Nerdist’s science & technology staff writer. She also moderates “science of” panels at conventions and co-hosts Star Warsologies, a podcast about science and Star Wars. Follow her on Twitter @melissatruth.