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Heel-Walkers or Gladiators: Mantophasmatodea

Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status, Gladiator (praedatophasma Maraisi): Species AccountGEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, HEEL-WALKERS AND PEOPLE

GLADIATOR (Praedatophasma maraisi): SPECIES ACCOUNT

All thirteen living species are found in Africa in Namibia, South Africa, and Tanzania. Two fossil species preserved in amber were found in Russia.

They are found in dry, scrubby habitats that receive little rain. Heel-walkers live down inside tufts of grass or grasslike plants, where they blend in perfectly thanks to their spotted and striped bodies.

They eat various kinds of insects, including each other, grasping and holding their prey with their strong and spiny front and middle legs. Heel-walkers will eat all but the wings and legs.

Each species of heel-walker lives in a very small area, and their populations are widely separated. The fact that they are distributed this way makes them especially interesting to scientists that study the distributions of animals in southern Africa.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceInsects and Spiders