Conehead Mantis Facts
- The highly evocative term of the Conehead Mantis appropriately serves as the common name for this remarkable insect. This marvel of Nature also goes by another name, though. That’s its somewhat difficult scientific name of the Empusa pennata.
- Regardless of which of these term you use for it, though, it remains blessed with a distinctive appearance. The common name, quite understandably, derives from the presence of the incredible structure on the top of the invertebrate’s head.
- The first recorded scientific recognition of this creature as a separate and distinct species occurred in the year 1815. That formal recognition took place as a result of the work of the well known Swedish naturalist, Carl Peter Thunberg.
- For the moment, the marvelous Conehead Mantis appears to be maintaining a stable and sufficient population. This further seems to be the case throughout the entirety of its range. As a result, the IUCN currently list the species a Least Concern.
- The invertebrate must nevertheless be considered to be facing at least some threats to its existence. One of these is probably the danger posed by increasing habitat loss. Its greatest threat, however, likely consists of ongoing climate change.
Conehead Mantis Physical Description
Although the marvelous Conehead Mantis fully deserves appreciation, this does not derive solely from its sheer physical size. That aspect of the invertebrate does nonetheless rank as respectable, since it represents an above-averaged size variety of mantis.
Like most of its relatives, it also displays a moderate degree of sexual dimorphism. In its specific case, this trait manifests itself in two separate ways, though. Simple physical size forms the first of these, with the female attaining a slightly greater length than the male.
This wonder of Nature achieves a size slightly greater than the European Mantis. That being said, females reach an average length of about 4 in (10 cm). The smaller males, meanwhile, attain varying lengths, but rarely grow beyond 3 in (7.6 cm) in total length.
The second form of gender-based differences among the Conehead Mantis appears in the form of the antennae of the male. These appendages possess a fine, feathery characteristic. However, only the male of the species develops these distinctive features.
Otherwise, the genders remain similar. The colors vary, since it employs active camouflage, but certain ones are more common. These consist of green, pink, and various shades of brown. Its most noticeable feature, though, is the cone-shaped structure on the head.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Class: Insecta
- Order: Mantodea
- Family: Empusidae
- Genus: Empusa
- Species: E. pennata
Conehead Mantis Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The remarkable Conehead Mantis possesses a comparatively broad, if somewhat broken, range of habitation. It’s broad because it covers parts of both Europe and Asia. It’s broken, though, since it only appears in scattered parts of the two continents, not evenly.
More precisely, in Europe, the arthropod seems to live in the countries of France, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Bulgaria, and Greece. In Asia, meanwhile, its only known habitat consists of the country of Lebanon. The exact for this pattern presently remains undetermined.
In all regions of the globe in which it appears, though, its habitat preference remains the same. This particular form of mantis prefers to inhabit more open areas, as opposed to denser forest regions. This mainly includes regions of scrub and perennial herbs.
The amazing Conehead Mantis prefers such regions because of its feeding habits. Like its many relatives, it evolved purely as a carnivore, and acting as an ambush predator. This powerful and efficient hunter eats a vast variety of small insects native to the same habitat.
In turn, the powerful hunter falls prey to other, larger predators. These vary according to its particular region, of course. Overall, however, these mainly include such animals as snakes, frogs, lizards, and a wide variety of avian species sharing its region.