A Case For The Orchid Mantis

 In Blog, Homeowner Tips, Pest Identification

aggressive mimicry of the orchid mantis Nature is amazing, isn’t it?  Think of the many creatures that have the ability to blend in with their surroundings or to appear to be something different altogether.  This camouflage is helpful for two reasons: as protection from predators or as a lure for prey.  The orchard mantis is just one of those creatures.  This predatory stick-like insect takes on the appearance of a beautiful flower, the orchid.

The Orchid Mantis

With legs shaped like petals and a body as colorful as any other flower in nature, it is easy to mistake this insect with the delicate bloom of an orchid at first glance. If you do, you won’t be alone:  research shows that the orchid mantis has been mistaken for thirteen species of flowers in the surrounding area, based on both color and overall appearance.  Fascinating! The orchid mantis survives by attracting and eating pollinating insects, which are staples in their diet.  Studies have shown that the orchid mantis can attract more pollinating insects than some flowers, even when it isn’t surrounded by other flowers. Even among bark and leaves of trees, the orchid mantis is still a clever deceiver. Larger animals, such as birds and lizards, are natural predators of the mantis family, but because the orchid mantis looks like a flower, it usually avoids being consumed by these predators. The brilliant appearance of the orchid mantis then, is two-fold: it allows for easy access to food and as protects from predatory animals. Unless you are visiting southeast Asia, you are unlikely to run into the fascinating creature.  More research is being conducted to determine if other varieties of this insect currently exist.

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