Manticora (genus)

Manticora (genus)
Manticora tiger beetle
male Manticora scabra
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Suborder: Adephaga
Family: Carabidae
Subfamily: Cicindelinae
Genus: Manticora
Fabricius, 1781

Manticora (often misspelled Mantichora following an unjustified spelling change in 1837) is a well-known genus of tiger beetle that is endemic to Africa. Its members are the largest of the subfamily. All species are darkly colored, nocturnal, and flightless. Males usually have exaggerated mandibles compared to the females, used for clasping during copulation.

Manticoras in folklore and popular culture

Museum specimen of Manticora sp. from Mozambique.
Manticora tuberculata

In African folklore manticoras are evil creatures, often accused of being responsible for many bad things. According to legend they are doombringers. Some tribes even personify Death as a manticora whose mandibles are an equivalent to the European scythe of Death (Mareš, Lapáček, 1980).

In Jules Verne´s novel Dick Sand, A Captain at Fifteen, it is a Manticora beetle which helps Cousin Bénédict to escape from imprisonment, when the aforementioned, unguarded in a garden, follows the beetle. Since the beetle escapes from him by flying, it is possible that it is one of Verne's "scholar's jokes" (that is, a joke which only a scientist may recognize; see the entry Jules Verne) (Neff, 1978).

Species

Manticora contains the following species:

  • Manticora congoensis Peringuey, 1888
  • Manticora gruti Bouchard, 1892
  • Manticora holubi Mareš, 2002
  • Manticora imperator Mareš, 1976
  • Manticora latipennis Waterhouse, 1837
  • Manticora livingstoni Laporte de Castelnau, 1863
  • Manticora mygaloides Thomson, 1859
  • Manticora scabra Klug, 1849
  • Manticora sicheli Thomson, 1859
  • Manticora skrabali Mareš, 2000
  • Manticora tibialis Boheman, 1848
  • Manticora tuberculata Geer, 1778
  • Manticora werneri Mareš, 2000

References and external links


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