Monday Night Mystery

This looks like it could be painful. What is it?


Five points to the first person to name the organism, and five for the structure.

The cumulative points winner for the month of May will win either 1) any 8×10 print from my insect photo gallery, or 2) a guest blog post on the (safe-for-work) topic of their choosing.

[SEM image by the lovely and talented Elle Camino]


  1. #1 FormicidaeFantasy
    May 24, 2010

    Praying Mantis limb?

  2. #2 Chris Grinter
    May 24, 2010

    Well the structure looks like a raptorial appendage, probably that of a Mantid. So… I’ll call it Tenodera aridifolia.

  3. #3 Alexis
    May 24, 2010


  4. #4 FormicidaeFantasy
    May 24, 2010

    I suppose more specifically the tibia and femur of a praying mantis. It looks like the tarsus got in there too.

  5. #5 FormicidaeFantasy
    May 24, 2010

    I’ll go with Tenodera sinensis, and I will also stop posting!

  6. #6 HP
    May 24, 2010

    Well, Allen, Larry seems pretty confident, so I’m going to wager 40 points on Larry Hovis.

  7. #7 Gordon Snelling
    May 24, 2010

    Just to be different I am going to go with a mantid fly.

  8. #8 Christopher Taylor
    May 24, 2010

    It’s a mantis foreleg, as already said. However, it’s not _Tenodera_ because it only has three discoidal spines (_Tenodera_ should have four) so it’s either an orthoderine or an iridopterygine. Unfortunately I wouldn’t know your local mantids so I can’t take it any further.

  9. #9 Tim Eisele
    May 25, 2010

    The only thing I wonder about here, is if it is a mantis foreleg, why was it necessary to take the image with an electron microscope? If it was an adult mantis, it would have been big enough for optical photography. Was it a mantis nymph, by any chance? Possibly one that just hatched?

  10. #10 James C. Trager
    May 25, 2010

    Everyone else did all the work, leading me to guess it’s the mesial surface of the right forelimb of an immature [i]Stagmomantis caroliniana[/i].

  11. #11 Peter Coffey
    May 25, 2010

    Is the specific epithet caroliniana or just carolina ?

  12. #12 Joe-aptera
    May 25, 2010

    How about a dryinid wasp? Perhaps Dryinus?

  13. #13 James C. Trager
    May 25, 2010

    Good catch, Peter. It is simply “carolina”.

  14. #14 gramon
    May 25, 2010

    I am going with an amblypigid foreleg.

  15. #15 CJ Klok
    May 25, 2010

    A raptorial leg (modified foreleg) of most likely a mantis, but it could possibly also be a mantispid (Neuroptera).

  16. #16 Cazakatari
    May 25, 2010

    My guess would be a mantid nymph judging from the size

    If so, just for clarification’s sake on the body parts, the bottom wide part is the femur, the smaller part on the top right is the tibia, and the extension from the tibia going out to the left is the tarsus

  17. #17 Eric Lice
    May 25, 2010

    I’m guessing head lice (louse) on a human hair.

  18. #18 JasonC.
    May 25, 2010

    Going with Christopher Taylor’s comment, I’ll say Orthodera ministralis, though having kept Tenodera it looks a lot like that too. Pity points, please?

    If I’m wrong it has to be the great appendage of some newly discovered Cambrian arthropod ‘thingy’.

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