Praedatophasma maraisi


Physical characteristics: The gray bodies of gladiators measure 0.8 to 1.2 inches (20 to 30 millimeters) in length. They have round heads and large eyes. The antennae are threadlike and nearly as long as the body. The front and middle legs, as well as the sides of the thorax, are spiny.

Geographic range: They are found in the Karasburg Region, southern Namibia.

Habitat: Gladiators are found near the Orange River, in the Nama Karoo.

Heel-walkers live down inside tufts of grass or grasslike plants, where they blend in perfectly thanks to their spotted and striped bodies. (Illustration by Bruce Worden. Reproduced by permission.)

Diet: Gladiators probably eat other insects.

Behavior and reproduction: Nothing is known about the behavior and reproduction of this species.

Gladiators and people: This species does not impact people or their activities.

Conservation status: This species is not endangered or threatened. ■


Adis, J., O. Zompro, E. Moombolah-Goagoses, and E. Marais. "Gladiators: A New Order of Insect." Scientific American 287, no. 5 (November 2002): 60-65.

Klass, K., O. Zompro, N. P. Kristensen, and J. Adis. "Mantophasmatodea: A New Insect Order with Extant Members in the Afrotropics." Science 296, no. 5572 (May 24, 2002): 1456-1459.

Picker, Mike D., Jonathan F. Colville, and Simon van Noort. "Mantophasmatodea Now in South Africa." Science 297, no. 5586 (August 30, 2002): 1475.

Web sites:

"Mantophasmatodea (Gladiator) Fossil Insect Gallery." http:// Mantophasmatodea/Mantophasmatodea.htm (accessed September 24, 2004).

New Insect Order Discovered for First Time Since 1915. http://www (accessed on September 24, 2004).

"Order: Mantophasmatodea (Heelwalkers)." .za/bio/insects/mantophasmatodea/ (accessed on September 21, 2004).

Trevidi, B. P. "New Insect Found in Southern Africa." National Geographic News. 0328_TVstickinsect.html (accessed on September 24, 2004).

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