Named for its well known front legs, the praying mantis is a very fascinating insect and intimidating predator. Its front legs are bent and held together, almost as if the insect is praying (thus its name). Their heads are triangular and have a long neck (or long thorax). They can also turn their heads 180 degrees to see their surroundings with their two large eyes and three other simple eyes that are between them.
They have a brown or green color which allows them to camouflage easily with plants, making them almost invisible from predators and prey. Using their front legs, they snare the pray with quick reflexes.
The Hymenopus coronatus, otherwise known as the orchid or flower mantis, is a gorgeous white and pink mantis with lobes on its legs. These lobes give the mantis a flower petal look. It’s part of the praying mantis family and it’s very popular as pets, whereas in the wild, it’s usually found in Malaysia as well as rainforests of Southeast Asia and Indonesia.
However, Margaret Neville, a citizen of South Africa, was able to spot one in her lavender bushes. This flower mantis was a female and had a big swirl pattern on the back giving it a lavender look. Neville was fascinated by her discovery and even named the mantis “Miss Frilly Pants” due to the mantis’ purple ‘pants’.
Neville shared her discovery with the world. She shared photos and videos of the mantis on the Waterfall Retreat & Environmental Centre Facebook page. Late September last year, a post was made on the Facebook page claiming that Miss Frilly Pants found a mate.
The females of the orchid praying mantis are much larger than the males and have a more distinguished color. Using their floral appearance, they wait for other insects to come to them. It is the perfect camouflage for the mantis since insects are its main food chain. Males on the other hand haven’t evolved their floral camouflage as much as the women. The male’s colors are smaller and much duller. Compared to the female orchid mantis, the male has to hunt for food instead of lying still.
You can check out one of the videos posted on the Facebook page of the beautiful mantis: