What do you think about when your hear ‘mantis‘? Do you think of the standard green insect in praying pose we are all familiar with? Do you think of females eating their mates after sex? Those are both real-life examples of the mantis, but far from the most surprising. Enter 5 mantis species that are masters of camouflage and the stealthy attack.
The mantis, also known as a praying mantis or by the eggcorn ‘preying mantis’, is not the kind of insect you want to run across if you are another small insect… but good luck seeing them before they have you in their grasp. Each mantis is exceptionally well adapted to the area that it lives, in many cases so well camouflaged with the local flora that it is difficult to see even when you know it’s there. Just see the images below for proof.
Above and below: Hymenopus coronatus, the Orchid Mantis
An orchid mantis. Very hard to see even when directly observed.
The orchid mantis in action on BBC.
Is that a dead leaf? The ghost mantis is difficult to see even when looking right at it.
The stick mantis in defense pose.
Mantis religiosa, the European Mantis. The most commonly known species of mantis was introduced to the US in 1899 in a shipment of nursery plants (the local insect population was like “stop preying for me!”)
Choeradodis stalii, or leaf mantis… wonder why it’s called that?
The underside of the leaf mantis.
Choeradodis rhombicollis, or the Peruvian Shield Mantis. Even down to the veins in its wings, it looks just like a leaf.