Orchid Mantis Fact File
The orchid mantis is perfectly disguised as an orchid. While their appearance prevents them being seen research has shown it also attracts prey. Insects see more of the UV light spectrum than we do and to pollinators these mantis appear as the most attractive flower. This attracts them leading to their capture and demise.
Their eyes sit on horn like projections extending from the head. Between these are a pair of antennae which sit on top of the head.
As an insect they have six legs. The front pair of raptorial legs are lined with spikes that help them to grip prey items. Their back legs are flattened to resemble petals and help with their camouflage.
The body is patterned with white and pink. Their pattern can be find tuned to suit 13 flowers found in their habitat.
Their body measures between 3 and 6cm (1.25 and 2.25in) long. Males may be as little as half the size of the female.
Females have a green spot at the center of the back while males have a brown spot.
Orchid mantises are carnivores. Their diet is made up of insects which they will capture using their camouflage abilities.
Young individuals are cannibalistic and will feed on their own siblings.
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Asia is the native home of the orchid mantis. Here they can be found in Malaysia and Indonesia.
They make their home in rainforests.
Mating begins 2 to 4 weeks after their final molt takes place.
Females will often feed on their mate which provides the energy needed to produce their egg case known as an ootheca.
Mating attempts can last for several hours or even days on some occasions.
When nymphs emerge they are dark orange with black legs and a black head during the first instar. This appearance resembles another bug which is dangerous. After they molt they take on the appearance of a small adult.
Orchid mantis spend much of their day camouflaged on an orchid sitting still to avoid detection by predators. They will sway with the flower to further reinforce this camouflage.
Predators and Threats
Their camouflage makes it difficult for predators to detect their presence.
They have a number of alternative names including the walking flower mantis.
This species is a popular pet in the captive trade but are rare leading to high prices.
By Lamiot – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50313470
By Philipp Psurek – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6385085
Middle Two Left
By I, Luc Viatour, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5187152
Middle Two Right
By Sander van der Wel from Netherlands – Bloembidsprinkhaan, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28146778
By Thomas Quine – Leaf mantisUploaded by High Contrast, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25203553
Ambrose, J., 2015. Wildlife Of The World. 1st ed. London: Dorling Kindersley
Aucklandzoo.co.nz. 2021. The Orchid Mantis: Fatal Attraction | Blog by Dr Phil Sirvid | Auckland Zoo News. [online] Available at: <https://www.aucklandzoo.co.nz/news/the-orchid-mantis-fatal-attraction> [Accessed 7 March 2021].
The Praying Mantis. 2021. Hymenopus coronatus (Orchid Mantis) for sale. [online] Available at: <https://theprayingmantis.co.uk/product/hymenopus-coronatus-orchid-mantis-sexed-pair-4th-instar-male-6th-instar-female/> [Accessed 7 March 2021].
Stlzoo.org. 2021. Orchid Mantis | Saint Louis Zoo. [online] Available at: <https://www.stlzoo.org/animals/abouttheanimals/invertebrates/insects/grasshopperskatydidscricke/orchidmantis> [Accessed 7 March 2021].
Keeping Insects | Caring for a praying mantis, butterflies, stick insects and beetles. 2021. Orchid Mantis – Hymenopus coronatus | Keeping Insects. [online] Available at: <https://www.keepinginsects.com/praying-mantis/species/orchid-mantis/> [Accessed 7 March 2021].