The Devil’s Flower Mantis is one of the largest of all praying mantis. Of those that mimic flowers, it actually represents the largest known. Also, the insect is the only species classified under the genus Idolomantis.
The animal is native to Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Malawi, Tanzania, and Uganda, in Africa.
Females can grow to approximately 5 in (13 cm) in length. Males may reach of as much as 4 in (10 cm).
When threatened, their response amazingly consists of white, red, purple, blue, and black colors.
Devil’s Flower Mantis Behavior
When confronted by a predator, the insect will display its arms and bright colors in an attempt to dissuade the potential attack. What is more, their front legs are raised to expose the conspicuous patterns depicted on the bottom of the thorax and abdomen. Likewise, the wings display a combination of vibrant colors.
Observations of the species indicate the additional tactic of shifting their wings left to right to startle and confuse predators. When prey is near, the Devil’s Flower Mantis impersonates a flower and remains motionless. When the prey draws close, they strike with lightning speed. Further, their legs are capable of maintaining a strong grip on the prey.
The Devil’s Flower Mantis prefers airborne insects. Their diet consists principally of moths, flies, beetles, and butterflies.
Devil’s Flower Mantis Reproduction
As with other species of mantis, sexual cannibalism is prominent among this species. After mating, the females deposit eggs in an ootheca which typically will hold up to 50 nymphs.
The incubation period varies according to temperature and humidity but averages about fifty days. During the developmental period, the nymphs feed on small insects such as houseflies and fruit flies.
The lifespan of the Devil’s Flower Mantis will vary according to the habitat and is approximately twelve months.