We present to you our choice of 9 Truly Magnificent Mantises. The mantis, or praying mantis, as it is known to many, ranks as one of the supreme predators in the insect world. Yet this amazing creature, in many instances, also ranks as among the most beautiful. In it, Nature has combined the efficiency of a supreme hunter with grace and elegance. We hope you enjoy the article.
Brunner’s Mantis Facts
- The fascinating Brunner’s Mantis or Brunneria borealis forms a most unusual and also very rare variety of mantis.
- It also remains quite well known for its rather thin body, which causes it to closely resemble a small stick or branch.
- However, entomologists did not recognize this amazing invertebrate as a separate species of its own until 1986.
- Further, this amazing creature also ranks as the only known insect that reproduces entirely without males.
Brunner’s Mantis Physical Description
Firstly, its highly elongated body serves as the most easily recognizable physical characteristic of the Brunner’s Mantis, at least visually.
While wild adults generally attain an average length of 3.5 in (8.9 cm), those grown in captivity often reach a length of 5 in (12.7 cm).
However, despite its undeniably great size, the wings of the adults typically remain too short to allow it to fly.
Also, the coloring usually consists of light green, although small streaks of light brown occasionally appear. Along with its body shape, this also provides excellent natural camouflage.
Species: B. borealis
Brunner’s Mantis Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Firstly, the astonishing Brunner’s Mantis only appears natively in the southern United States, in North America. Within that range, it also appears in Texas, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.
Its preferred habitat typically consists of tall grasses and small trees. Here, its natural camouflage provides it with the best protection from its own predators, most commonly birds.
The remarkable Brunner’s Mantis also holds a unique distinction. It reproduces entirely asexually, through parthenogenesis. No males of the species exist. This mantis also represents the only known insect on earth of which this appears true.
Like all mantises, it remains a pure carnivore. Its diet consists of a rather wide variety of local insects, including those as relatively large as grasshoppers. Also like other mantises, it hunts primarily as an ambush predator.
Brown Mantis Facts
- The Large Brown Mantis has several subspecies, and one of them is the Stick Mantis Ghost from Bundaberg’s Turtle Sands.
- The Stick Mantis Ghosts are also generally not quite as aggressive as the original species.
- Yet, it has a defense display which makes the Mantis appear larger by flinging its front legs into the air and putting its head down along with its antennae.
- Further, the subspecies from Bundaberg is a pale creamy white with a yellow and black eye in between the arms, instead of brown.
- That variety measures about one and a half times the size of the original species.
Brown Mantis Physical Description
The highly aggressive Brown Mantis averages roughly 4 in (10 cm) in length. However, sexual dimorphism exists within the species, in several ways.
In addition, the males remain capable of flight, but the females do not. The male of the species develops rather smaller than the female, reaching about 3.9 in (10 cm) in length. Yet the female measures about 4.5 in (11 cm) in length.
The Brown Mantis female also remains short-winged. Her pair of wings reach only half her abdomen and she is not able to fly. The long-winged male also has wings that cover the entire abdomen.
The wings have four sets of wings and wing covers. The top set is the covers and the bottom wings enable the mantis to fly.
Species: A. latistyla
Brown Mantis Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The truly impressive Brown Mantis evolved as indigenous to Australia. Within that range, it also inhabits a variety of habitats. However, it most commonly inhabits areas of grasslands.
Also, like all mantids, it remains a carnivore. It ranks as especially aggressive, even among other mantids.
It will attack prey much larger than itself, including birds, frogs, lizards, and even fish.
This invertebrate also frequently engages in cannibalistic behavior when other prey becomes scarce. It will also not hesitate to attack humans in a defensive manner if disturbed.
Aside from these limited facts, however, few specific details are certain about this insect.
Gambian Spotted-Eye Flower Mantis Facts
- Firstly, the Gambian Spotted-Eye Flower Mantis takes its name from two eyespots on the dorsal side of the abdomen of adult females.
- This species also ranks as less aggressive than most species of mantis, except during feeding when it becomes merciless.
- Rather uniquely, its eyes actually change color from day to night. At night they are dark red but during the day they are light green.
- Although it inhabits a somewhat limited range, its numbers remain sufficient enough to hold no current listing on the IUCN Red List.
Gambian Spotted-Eye Flower Mantis Physical Description
Although stunning, the Gambian Spotted-Eye Flower Mantis remains much smaller than most species of mantis.
At most, individuals attain a length of about 1.2 inches (3 cm). Due to the reproductive intensity, the females are generally slightly longer and heavier than the males.
Displaying sexual dimorphism, females also have shorter antennae, while males have long and red antennae.
Females also have two dots on the abdomen as adults, while males, whose abdomens are thin, and covered completely by the wings when looked at from above, appear to have none.
Its camouflage has evolved to mimic flowers and the insect is very successful at being inconspicuous. The color is primarily white, and the wings are green.
Species: P. virescens
Gambian Spotted-Eye Flower Mantis Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The rather stunning Gambian Spotted-Eye Flower Mantis is a species of praying mantis endemic to Central, East and West Africa.
This arthropod can live together with limited cannibalism, sometimes without it when a reliable food source is present.
Individuals become very fast and skittish when young, but when older, they become rather calm, compared to related species.
Adult males are skittish and strong fliers. These will sway sideways in the wind to imitate foliage and they move the antennae back and forth very fast while moving around.
The creature also evolved as aggressive predators, with adult females willing to tackle prey as large as themselves.
Males are much more timid in nature, so they need smaller prey items than females will take.
The Gambian Spotted-Eye Flower Mantis is also an insect that breeds very rapidly. The female usually lays a mass of eggs every 3-4 days during the mating season.
Orchid Mantis Facts
- The Orchid Mantis or Hymenopus coronatus is a creature which combines the qualities of unique beauty with that of the deadly efficiency of a predator.
- This insect remains rather popular for its brilliant coloring and a structure finely adapted for camouflage, mimicking parts of the orchid flower.
- The four walking legs also resemble flower petals, the toothed front pair is used as in other mantises for grasping prey.
- This rather remarkable invertebrate can change its color between pink and brown, according to the color of the background.
Orchid Mantis Physical Description
The gorgeous Orchid Mantis, like its namesake flower, truly constitutes one of the most beautiful, and undeniably deadly to its prey, insects on earth.
Further, the brilliant coloring, which can change at will, from brown to pink, and various shades in between, also provides it with excellent camouflage.
Its body shape also provides the same effect, given that its four walking legs strongly resemble the petals or an orchid.
This species also displays an extreme degree of sexual dimorphism. In addition, females attain an average length of 2.4 in (6 cm), while males only reach about half that.
Species: H. coronatus
Orchid Mantis Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Scientists suspect this feeding behavior indicates a need for the potassium. Furthermore, the species will eat any small creature it can catch, except venomous insects.
Like other mantises, it also prefers to lay in wait for its prey among the tropical flowers and trees.
It also requires only a small space and eats flying insects which it hunts by just sitting and waiting.
Devils Flower Mantis
Devils Flower Mantis Facts
- Firstly, the amazing Devil’s Flower Mantis remains one of the largest of all the roughly 2,400 known praying mantis varieties.
- Also, of those mantises that mimic flowers, this rather impressive species actually represents the largest known.
- In addition, the remarkable and relatively large insect is the only species classified under the genus Idolomantis.
- Rather sadly, its very distinctiveness makes it extremely popular in the exotic pet industry, especially in the Western Hemisphere.
- However, the IUCN does not have a listing for it at this time, as its numbers appear stable in the wild, for the moment.
Devils Flower Mantis Physical Description
Firstly, it should be noted that the magnificent Devils Flower Mantis, like many related species, displays sexual dimorphism.
For example, the larger females can grow to about 5 in (13 cm) in length. However, the smaller males only reach a length of about 4 in (10 cm).
In color, the insect typically shows either a rather dull light brown, or combinations of green shades, depending on location, for camouflage.
However, when threatened, it opens its wings, which show combinations of white, red, purple, blue, and black colors.
Species: I. diabolica
Devils Flower Mantis Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Like other mantises, it also feeds strictly as a carnivore. In addition, this particular species usually prefers airborne insects.
This usually consists principally of various species of moths, flies, beetles, and butterflies, native to its particular region.
As with most other species of mantis, the practice of sexual cannibalism also remains prominent among this species.
After mating, the females deposit eggs in an ootheca which typically will hold up to 50 nymphs.
Budwing Mantis Facts
- Many people believe the most noteworthy fact about the Budwing Mantis to be its exceptional voraciousness.
- Unlike most of the more than 2,400 known mantis species, many individuals often actively pursue prey.
- Additionally, the IUCN does not currently have a listing for this insect species on their Red List.
- That may soon change, however. Like many other animals, this invertebrate remains under threat from climate change and deforestation.
Budwing Mantis Physical Description
The rather fascinating Budwing Mantis displays a quite marked degree of physical sexual dimorphism in several ways.
While the female averages a length of about 2.75 in (7 cm), the male rarely reaches more than 1.5 in (4 cm).
The length of the wings also varies according to gender. The wings of the female only reach the middle of their abdomen, yet those of the male reach twice that.
In addition, the coloring typically comprises various shades of light brown, yet darker shades do occur.
Further, the underside of the wings of both genders displays a bright yellow-orange color, while the upper side varies in color.
Species: P. affinis
Budwing Mantis Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The endemic range of the Budwing Mantis primarily consists of the area comprising the country of Kenya.
However, scattered individuals can be also found in neighboring regions. These include Ethiopia, Somalia, and Tanzania.
The insect also usually inhabits regions of dense vegetation, such as jungles and rainforests, where its camouflage remains most effective.
Like all mantises, it also evolved as carnivorous and has a voracious appetite. It typically preys on smaller invertebrates.
However, it will feed opportunistically on virtually any prey they can find. This also includes prey as large as itself.
The animal can also survive completely without water since it can assimilate fluids from the prey it consumes.
Ghost Mantis Facts
- Even among the many related species, the remarkable Ghost Mantis stands out for its mastery of camouflage.
- However, fortunately for it, this rather impressive creature currently inhabits a moderately wide range of the earth.
- Yet, regardless of its great impressiveness, it also ranks as a smaller than average representative of its genus.
- Sadly, however, its very distinctiveness for these reasons also makes it one of the most popular mantises in captivity.
Ghost Mantises Physical Description
The body shape of the Ghost Mantis has also evolved to blend in with its environment. Indeed, it looks rather like dry, withered branches or leaves on bushes and trees. Phyllocrania paradoxa has incredible camouflage so as to appear as dead, dried-up leaf material.
The head is also elongated, the prothorax is long and the limbs have leaf-like protrusions. The body only reaches about 2 in (5 cm) in length.
The Ghost Mantis also has a forewing that looks like a dry leaf, and the creases in the wings are actually shadings of pigment.
This insect is most commonly a dark brown but can be a lighter shade of brown, sand-color, or even green.
It also displays a moderate degree of sexual dimorphismm, with females being slightly larger in size than males.
Species: P. paradoxa
Ghost Mantis Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The Ghost Mantis or Phyllocrania paradoxa is a mantis species native to a rather wide range of Africa, including Madagascar.
The insect primarily inhabits regions such as bushes, shrubs, trees, and many similar areas, as long as these remain dry.
Its extraordinary camouflage not only serves to surprise its prey but to evade its own predators as well.
Like all mantises, it feeds entirely as a carnivore. For this, it also remains extremely effective, due to its camouflage.
Arizona Unicorn Mantis
Arizona Unicorn Mantis Facts
- The presence of a horn-like cone in the middle of its forehead ranks as the most noteworthy fact about the Arizona Unicorn Mantis.
- It also quite understandably gave rise to the extremely attention-grabbing common name of the insect.
- This species also possesses a very limited primary range. While scattered populations appear in other portions of its native country, the vast majority live in only one region.
- Though its primary zone of habitation remains quite small, its numbers appear to be stable, at least for the moment.
- As a result, the IUCN does not currently list this species on its Red List
Arizona Unicorn Mantis Physical Description
As a rather moderate sized species, the fascinating Arizona Unicorn Mantis attains an average length of 3.2 in (7 cm).
Sexual dimorphism remains rather minimal in this species, with the males being slightly slimmer and having longer abdomens.
Firstly, the insect typically displays a dark brown coloring, with stripes of either light brown or black.
In addition, adults usually have bright green wings, and body shapes remarkably similar to that of a stick insect.
Along with being unusual, this provides them with excellent camouflage.
Yet the most distinctive feature of the Arizona Unicorn Mantis remains the small horn on its head, though this feature actually consists of two small cones.
Species: P. arizonae
Arizona Unicorn Mantis Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
While it does occur in small numbers in other regions, the Arizona Unicorn Mantis primarily inhabits the state of Arizona, in the United States.
The creature prefers wooded areas, such as forests and parks, since this maximizes the effectiveness of its camouflage.
Also, it preys on a wide variety of insects, including crickets, moths, butterflies, and flies.
Yet its preferred prey consists of various types of fly. Its strike occurs so rapidly that individuals can catch a fly right out of the air.
Unlike many other species of mantis, the Arizona Unicorn Mantis often lives in loose group associations. Also, after hatching, the young of this species mature rapidly.
The species does practice sexual cannibalism, like many mantises, but among this species, the practice appears limited.
Carolina Mantis Facts
- Firstly, the Carolina Mantis ranks as such an efficient hunter that it often gets sold as a form of
- Secondly, this particular invertebrate evolved as a particularly voracious predator, even among related species.
- As a consequence of its extreme appetite, individuals of this species routinely consume great numbers of small insects.
- Even among other mantises, this astounding creature stands out for its rather insatiable appetite.
- Additionally, this form of mantis will not hesitate to engage in cannibalism at any time if no other prey is unavailable.
Carolina Mantis Physical Description
For all its aggressiveness, the Carolina Mantis nevertheless remains an average sized species of mantis.
Due to this rather surprising fact most individuals typically attain an average adult length of only about 2.4 in (6 cm).
The coloring also varies by individual but generally will consist of combinations of green, gray, or tan.
Further, the Carolina Mantis has the ability to adjust its colors at will as nymphs, to provide the best possible camouflage for the particular environment.
This fascinating insect does not display any particular degree of sexual dimorphism.
Species: S. carolina
Carolina Mantis Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
This species inhabits a rather wide range of habitats throughout North America,, Central America, and South America.
It also remains a master of adaptive camouflagee, blending in easily with its particular habitat, which varies widely.
Its amazing adeptness at this ranks so high that sometimes its prey will actually land on them, mistaking it for part of the habitat.
Like many related creatures, the females do engage in sexual cannibalism, however, in about 25% of all matings.
9 Truly Magnificent Mantises
We hope you have enjoyed this article on 9 Truly Magnificent Mantises. Of course, the more than 2,400 other known mantis species are all magnificent, as well. Nature has forged an incredible hunter in the mantises, regardless of where they occur. They fill a highly important ecological niche, and deserve to be protected and preserved.