A review of the biology and biogeography of Mantispidae (Neuroptera)

Adult Mantispidae are general predators of arthropods equipped with raptorial forelegs. The three larval instars display varying degrees of hypermetamorphic ontogeny. The larval stages exhibit a remarkable life history ranging from specialised predators of nest-building hymenopteran larvae and pupa, to specialised predators of spider-eggs, to possible generalist predators of immature insects. Noteworthy advances in our understanding of the biology of Mantispidae has come to light over the past two decades which are compiled and addressed in this review. All interactions of mantispids with other arthropods are tabled and their biology critically discussed and compared to the current classification of the taxon. Additionally, the ambigous systematics within Mantispidae and between Mantispidae and its sister groups, Rhachiberothidae and Berotidae, is reviewed. Considering the biology, systematics, distribution of higher taxonomic levels and the fossil record, the historical biogeography of the group is critically discussed with Gondwana as the epicenter of Mantispidae radiation.