|Manticora tiger beetle|
|Male Manticora scabra|
Manticora (often misspelled Mantichora (Latin term for "manticore") following an unjustified spelling change in 1837) is a well-known genus of tiger beetle that is endemic to Africa. Its members are the largest of the subfamily. All species are darkly colored, nocturnal, and flightless. Males usually have exaggerated mandibles compared to the females, used for clasping during copulation.
This genus was among the first formally described by a pupil of Carl Linnaeus, Johan Christian Fabricius, in 1792. The name Manticora comes from the ancient Persian for the legendary man-eating Manticore.
The first species of Manticora known to science was M. tuberculata, originally described by De Geer in 1778 in the Linnean genus Carabus. When Fabricius established Manticora he referred to the type species Carabus maxillosa, a junior synonym of M. tuberculata.
Manticora contains the following species:
- Manticora congoensis Peringuey, 1888
- Manticora gruti Bouchard, 1892
- Manticora holubi Mareš, 2002
- Manticora imperator Mareš, 1976
- Manticora latipennis Waterhouse, 1837
- Manticora livingstoni Laporte de Castelnau, 1863
- Manticora mygaloides Thomson, 1859
- Manticora scabra Klug, 1849
- Manticora sicheli Thomson, 1859
- Manticora skrabali Mareš, 2000
- Manticora tibialis Boheman, 1848
- Manticora tuberculata Geer, 1778
- Manticora werneri Mareš, 2000
Manticoras in folklore and popular culture
In African folklore manticoras are evil creatures, often accused of being responsible for many bad things. According to legend they are doombringers. Some tribes even personify Death as a manticora whose mandibles are an equivalent to the European scythe of Death (Mareš, Lapáček, 1980).
In Jules Verne´s novel Dick Sand, A Captain at Fifteen, it is a Manticora beetle which helps Cousin Bénédict to escape from imprisonment, when the aforementioned, unguarded in a garden, follows the beetle. Since the beetle escapes from him by flying, it is possible that it is one of Verne's "scholar's jokes" (that is, a joke which only a scientist may recognize; see the entry Jules Verne) (Neff, 1978).
-  (Beetles of Africa)
-  (BioLib, Biological Library, a link to a page upon the Manticora genus
- "Manticora Fabricius, 1792". Carabidae of the World. 2011. Retrieved 29 Jun 2011.
- Ing Jaroslav Mareš, Vlastimil Lapáček, Nejkrásnější brouci tropů (The most beautiful tropical beetles), Prague, (1980)
- Ondřej Neff, Podivuhodný svět Julese Vernea (The Extraordinary World of Jules Verne), Prague, (1978)
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