Drury published the first descriptions and accurate illustrations of Antillean stick-insects when he described Mantis linearis, M. jamaicensis, and M. gigas in 1773. Fabricius added three species:  Mantis bispinosa (1775), M. calamus and M. ferula (1793); Olivier added Mantis keratosqueleton in 1792; Lichtenstein described Phasma cornutum (1796) and P. filiforme (1802). [Note that prior to the erection of the genus Phasma Lichtenstein, 1796, all phasmatids were placed in the genus Mantis Linné, 1758.]

Palisot de Beauvois illustrated a mutilated female from St. Domingo as Phasma angulata (1805). Caspar Stoll (1813) described and presented remarkable illustrations of a number of phasmatids, including those of two new Antillean species, Phasma bicornis and P. angulata [view Stoll’s phasmatid plates]; Stoll’s P. angulata is a different species from that described by Palisot de Beauvois. In his synopsis of the then-known phasmatids, Gray (1835) noted eight species as occurring in the West Indies, and described four more:  Bacteria simplicitarsis, Diapherodes glabricollis, D. scabricollis, and D. pulverulentus; the latter was described without a locality, but I believe it is a junior synomym of Diapherodes jamaicensis (Drury, 1773). Burmeister in 1838 closely followed Gray’s systematic treatment, but added Acanthoderus cornutus from St. Thomas and Phasma spinicolle from Haiti. Audinet-Serville named Platycrana venustula from Cuba (1839); deHaan (1842) gave a brief diagnosis of Phasma (Bacteria) cubense, and also described two species of the genus Diapherodes without locality. Westwood described Diapherodes (Cranidium) pumilio from Africa in 1845, but this species is indigenous to Jamaica [view Westwood’s illustration]. His descriptive catalogue of stick-insects (1859) recorded 28 species from the West Indies, eleven of them described as new. Saussure (1868) described nine more species, five of them from Cuba. Kaup (1871) named and figured Diapherodes grayi as from the “Moluccas,” but this locality is also erroneous. Stål produced the first critical study of phasmatid generic classification (1875), but only added Clonistria bartholomaea to the fauna. Bolivar (1888) reviewed Saussure’s work, and described four species—Phantasis saussurii, P. lyrata, Caulonia poeyi, and C. triedrica—all from Cuba. Kirby, prior to his catalog of the Orthoptera, in 1889 described three more Antillean species:  Pseudobacteria longiceps, Diapheromera saussurii, and Pterinoxylus crassus. Redtenbacher described Phanocles curvipes in 1892, from St. Vincent.

Rehn described Lamponius portoricensis and Aplopus achalus from Puerto Rico (1903), and Aplopus similis in 1904, from Swan Island; Caudell added Aplopus mayeri (1905), from the Florida Keys. Brunner and Redtenbacher, in their magnum opus “Die Insectenfamilie der Phasmiden” (1906-1908), reported 68 species, distributed among 18 genera, as occurring in the Antilles; they described 28 of them as new. Despite its flaws, that work became the base on which future phasmatid taxonomy would be built. Rehn added two more species, Malacomorpha androsensis (1906), from the Bahamas, and Hesperophasma cordiferum (1938), from Cuba. Carl (1913) described Antillophilus brevitarsis, from Guadeloupe; Caudell (1914) Paraprisopus antillarum, from Dominica. Rehn and Hebard (1938) discussed a number of taxonomic problems and added one new genus and seven new species, four of them in the genus Clonistria. Moxey (1971) named Taraxippus paliurus, from Haiti and Agamemnon iphimedeia, from Puerto Rico.

In summary, 96 species of truly West Indian phasmatids were described from 1773 through 1971; an additional eleven species either were erroneously reported as Antillean or cannot be accurately identified. Trinidad has five species, only one of which is found in the Antilles, the other four being South American. Since Trinidad is faunistically to South America, I did not include its phasmatids in my review of the stick-insects of the West Indies (Moxey, 1972).


Mantis bispinosa Fabricius, 1775
Systema Entomologiae, pp 274-275.
 
2spinosa. 4. M. thorace teretiusculo, antice bispinoso, elytris brevissimis:  margine flavo.
Habitat in America. Mus. Dom. Hunter.
Statura M. Gigantis, at multo minor. Antennae flavescentes. Caput viride, vertice utrinque spina elevata brevi, obtusa. Thorax linearis, rotundatus, viridis, dorso flavescente, antice spinis duabus validis, nigris. Elytra brevia, medio gibba, viridia, margine exteriori viridi. Abdomen lineare, virescens. Pedes virescentes, spinosi.

[ return to history ]


Mantis keratosqueleton Olivier, 1792
Encyclopédie Méthodique. Histoire Naturelle. Insectes. VII:639.
 
    75.  MANTE keratosquelete.

    MANTIS keratosqueleton.

    Le Spectre ou Squelete cornu. Stoll. p. 46. pl. 15. fig. 57. & 57.A. La tête.

    Mantis corpore gracili cylindrico aptero, capite cornuto.

    Cet insecte ressemble beaucoup à la Mante bâton, n°. 71; mais il en diffère par les deux cornes émoussées dont la tête est accompagnée. Le corcelet, brun comme le reste du corps, est parsemé de pustules blanches.

[ la Mante bâton, n°. 71 = Mantis baculus ]
[ return to history ]


Mantis ferula Fabricius, 1793
Entomologia Systematica, II:12-13.
 
ferula. 2. M. corpore filiformi aptero viridi, pedibus longitudine corporis: femoribus posticis apice spinosis.
Habitat in Insula Guadaloupe Dom. de Badier.
Magnam elongata, filiformis. Antennae mediocres, virides, apice fuscae. Corpus totum laeve, glabrum, viride absque elytris & alis. Pedes elongati femoribus angulatis, posticis quatuor apice spinosis.

[ return to history ]


Mantis calamus Fabricius, 1793
Entomologia Systematica, II:13.
 
calamus. 3. M. corpore filiformi aptero virescente, femoribus striatis.
Habitat in Insula St. Croix Americae Mus. Dom. Lund.
Distincta omnino a praecedente. Antennae setaceae, flavescentes. Caput laeve, glabrum, flavescens. Corpus cylindricum, filiforme, magis obscurum. Pedes flavescentes femoribus lineis elevatis, striatis.

[ return to history ]