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Mantophasmatodea (Heelwalkers): biology

In the winter rainfall area of South Africa the eggs hatch after the first autumn rains. Late rains produce late hatchings. Juveniles develop during the wet winter months and reach adulthood in spring (September/October). The adults mate, lay eggs and die within a couple of weeks. The egg stage survives the dry summer months within a very resistant egg pod that is made of sand granules cemented together with some water resistant glue. Each egg pod has approximately 12 large eggs, and each female is capable of laying several of these pods. The pods are laid fairly superficially, often close to a grass tussock. The first instar nymphs hatch the following year in May, or later if the autumn rains are delayed. In Namibia the nymphs develop during the wet summer months (March and April) reaching adulthood in autumn (May).


Mating pair of Karoophasma biedouwensis (photo Mike Picker)


Karoophasma biedouwensis ovipositing (photo Mike Picker)


Karoophasma biedouwensis : first instar nymph from Wolfdrift, hatched in May (photo Mike Picker)

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Web page development and text by Simon van Noort (Iziko South African Museum) and Mike Picker (University of Cape Town)

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