Insect has flower power


Marlet Ireland
18 July 2014

The photo of this colourful and interesting insect was taken on the farm Gertcor Landgoed just outside Hazyview. This brightly-coloured creature is called a flower praying mantis because of its “prayer-like” posture.

Flower mantises are those species of praying mantis that mimic the flowers they hide in. Their legs, wings and other body parts often look like petals that help them blend in with the flowers. Their coloration is an example of aggressive mimicry, a form of camouflage in which a predator’s colours and patterns lure prey.

Most species of flower mantis are in the family Hymenopodidae. Their behaviour varies, but typically involves climbing a plant until they reach a suitable flower, and then staying still until a prey insect comes within range

There are many species of flower praying mantis. They range in colour and size according to the flora they inhabit.

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