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Leveraging female genitalic characters for generic and species delimitation in Nilomantis Werner, 1907 and Ilomantis Giglio-Tos, 1915 (Mantodea, Nilomantinae)

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Praying mantis species description and higher-level taxonomy has historically relied on external morphological characters, male genitalic characters, and geographic distribution. For the first time, female genitalic characters were used to delimit genus- and species-level boundaries using two genera with a complex taxonomic history, Nilomantis Werner, 1907 and Ilomantis Giglio-Tos, 1915. We present comprehensive morphological evidence for the validity of Ilomantis, currently a junior synonym of Nilomantis and describe a new species, Ilomantis ginsburgae sp.n. We provide a key to the species of Nilomantis and Ilomantis based on genitalic and external morphological character states. High-resolution images, illustrations of morphological characters, and measurement data are also presented. We conclude that female genital characters have significant utility in praying mantis taxonomy and should be incorporated as an additional data source to complement traditional taxonomic and genetic data.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH, USA ; 2: Department of Invertebrate Zoology, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, 1 Wade Oval Drive, Cleveland, OH, USA


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