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Mantophasmatodea

Mantophasmatodea is an order of carnivorous insects discovered in 2002, the first new insect order to be described since 1914. The common name for this order is 'Gladiators'.

Members of the order are wingless even as adults, making them relatively difficult to identify. They resemble praying mantises and other phasmids[?]. The order is known, thus far, from live specimens found in Namibia (Mantophasma zephyra and M. subsolana) and from a 45-million-year-old specimen of Baltic amber (genus Raptophasma).

The authors of the paper describing the new order note that "it cannot at present be categorically excluded" that the two Mantophasma specimens are of the same species, with the size difference reflecting sexual dimorphism, but they consider this unlikely, because of the wide geographical separation of the specimens.

See also: "Mantophasmatodea: a new insect order with extant members in the Afrotropics", by Klaus-D. Klass, Oliver Zompro, Niels P. Kristensen, and Joachim Adis. Science 296 (24 May 2002), 1456-1459. (This is the paper containing the formal order, genus, and species descriptions.)

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