Weird Animal Monday: Orchid Mantis

Camouflaged to mimic orchid flowers.

Mantis are already really neat and unique creatures, but this particular species has taken it to the next level. This is the Orchid Mantis, characterized by brilliant pink or brown coloring and physical adaptation for camouflage, mimicking parts of the orchid flower. Its four legs resemble petals, and its front pair are used for grasping prey, as with other mantises. It can actually change its color to either pink or brown, depending on its surroundings.

This mantis is carnivorous, as with other mantises. It is an ambush predator, which means it likes to sit patiently until prey comes around, then it snatches it and eats it. The way this creature catches food is slightly unique to its species.

“The nymph has what Cott calls “Special Alluring Coloration”, where the animal itself is the “decoy”. The insect is pink and white, with flattened limbs with “that semi-opalescent, semi-crystalline appearance that is caused in flower-petals by a purely structural arrangement of liquid globules or empty cells”. The mantis climbs up and down the twigs of the plant until it finds one that has flowers. It holds on to these with the claws of its two rearmost pairs of legs. It then sways from side to side, and soon carious small flies land on and around it, attracted by the small black spot on the end of its abdomen which resembles a fly.”

Source: Wikipedia

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