Head: Brown to black with pale yellow marks. Face has a longitudinal yellow stripe each side of centre; middle dark area appearing as a dark stripe, sometimes incomplete. Pattern of yellow oblong spots on top of head; can be obscure. Eyes multi-colored.
Antenna: Brown except segment 1 yellowish, more so on underside.
Thorax: Neck (prothorax) long and slender, more cone-shaped at head. Cream-colored patch at base and end of neck; rest yellowish-brown to dark brown. Usually with a light or dark coloured longitudinal stripe down centre. Thorax side on female dark with cream, curved lines. Male sides mostly pale.
Wings: Wings clear with brown veins; no brown spots at wing tips. Base and outside edge of wings dark brown (costal area), with a faint yellowish streak. Stigma at end of costa also dark brown.
Legs: Front legs modified, similar to praying mantis; dark brown with light streaks. Usually folded up and not used, except for eating. Mid and hind legs pale yellow with brown streaks; females have joint to body (coxae) brown; male coxae pale.
Abdomen: Yellowish-brown to dark brown with yellow marks. Female abdomen always darker, and may be entirely black; the yellow marks vary considerably. Abdomen side edges cream, almost entirely on male, more spotted on female.
Similar Species: Dicromantispa interrupta is a larger species with a dark patch near tip of wing. Leptomantispa pulchella has side-by-side (paired) yellow stripes of even width running down sides of abdomen, whereas D. sayi has uneven width pattern down sides. L. pulchella also has a bright, burnt orange stigma on wings, not brown as in D. sayi. Otherwise, these two are identical.
Size: 14 to 15 mm long.
Habitat: Forest edges and prairies where spiders are present.
Food: Adults feed on small flying insects. Fed moths and flies under lab conditions. Larvae hunt for just about any species spider eggs, but major hosts are Wolf and Hunting spiders Lycosidae, and Running Crab Spider Philodromus vulgaris.
Flight Time: Jul 15 to Sep 4th. Peaks end of July
Life Cycle: Females lay eggs on any substrate. Larvae hatch, wander, find and either penetrate wolf spider egg sacs, or hitch a ride on adult female spiders ready to lay eggs. 1st instar over-winters. One generation per year.
Comments: Essex County – Point Pelee, Ojibway, Harrow. Kent County – Rondeau Provincial Park. At one time D. sayi was thought to be found only along the north shore of Lake Erie, but range has expanded to include Lake Simcoe and the north shore of Lake Ontario to the Quebec border.
For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page