The Devils Flower Mantis is one of the largest of all species of praying mantis. Of those that mimic flowers, it is the largest known. Also, the insect is the only species classified under the genus: Idolomantis.
The females can grow to approximately 5 in. (13 cm) in length. Males may reach a length of as much as 4 in. (10 cm). The Devils Flower Mantis is native to Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Malawi, Tanzania, and Uganda. When threatened their response amazingly consists of white, red, purple, blue, and black colors.
Devils Flower Mantis Behavior
When confonted by a predator, the insect will display its arms and bright colors. This is an attempt to dissuade the potential predator. 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 indicates the additional tactic of shifting their wings left to right to startle and confuse predators. When prey is near, the Devils Flower Mantis impersonates a flower, and remains motionless. When the prey draws close, they strike with lightning speed. In fact, their legs are capable of maintaining a strong grip on the prey.
The Devils Flower Mantis prefers airborne insects. Their diet consists principally of moths, flies, beetles, and butterflies.
Devils Flower Mantis Reproduction
As with other species of mantis, sexual cannibalism is prominent among the Devils Flower Mantis. After mating, the females deposit eggs in an ootheca. Typically, these will hold up to 50 nymphs. The incubation period varies according to temperature and humidity.
On average, incubation lasts about fifty days. During the developmental period of this insect, the nymphs feed on small insects such as houseflies and fruit flies. The lifespan of the Devils Flower Mantis will vary according to the habitat. The average lifespan is approximately twelve months.
Todd Sain Sr.