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Insect Identification Key
Order Notoptera: the grylloblattids and the mantophasmids

Based on your answers to the questions, you have identified your insect as being in the order Notoptera!

Members of this order include: grylloblattids (also known as ice crawlers or icebugs); and the mantophasmids (also known as rock crawlers, gladiators and heelwalkers).

Etymology: Notoptera comes from the Greek words notos, which means back, and ptera, which means wings. Regardless of the name “back wings,” both the mantophasmids and the grylloblattids are wingless..

General characteristics:
• wingless
• long, thin antennae
chewing mouthparts
• long, cylindrical body
• two tiny cerci in mantophasmids; two long cerci in grylloblattids
• long legs with five-segmented tarsi
hemimetabolous metamorphosis (egg — nymph — adult)

Number of species worldwide: about three dozen

Basic ecology:
Scientists have only recently discovered these insects. The mantophasmids, which have been found in a few places in Africa, live among the rocks during the day and come out at night to hunt for insects and other small arthropods. The grylloblattids, which have been identified at high elevations in both North America and Asia, like cold temperatures. When the air is cold, they climb over rocks, ice and snow to look for food. When the temperatures rise, they crawl down into the permafrost to wait for the air to cool again.


Kingdom Animalia
   Phylum Arthropoda
      Class Insecta
         Order Notoptera
            Suborder Mantophasmatodea
            Suborder Grylloblattodea

For a list of all of the orders in this key, click here: List of Orders.

Oops! If this doesn't appear to be the order for your insect, go back through the key and look more carefully at your insect while answering the questions again. Your perseverance will reward you!

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