The Spiny Flower Mantis (Pseudocreobotra wahlbergi)
This little mantis may be rare, but it is so fascinating that it would be a crime not to discuss it. Simply by looking at this little guy, you would think that they were right out of a fairy tale, or a Pokemon game. Yet, this is as real as it gets. So let's see what the science says about these praying mantis'.
Physical description and Behavior
The most notable thing about this mantis is the fact that it looks like it is covered in various tiny flowers. This is an odd mechanism that this mantis uses to catch prey. Insects will come to the mantis in hopes of pollinating the "flower", just to be captured and eaten. It also makes it look like a fantasy creature.
It is green and cream colors with a bunch of white or lilac protrusion to make them blend in with the surrounding plants. After they mate, the female will eat the male for energy during her pregnancy. This is a practice not uncommon in many species of insects. They can lay egg cases almost three times the size of the female and can hatch upwards of 50 offspring.
They are fairly small, being about 1.5 to 2 inches. When threatened, they will stand upright and spread out their wings. The wings will look like two "eyes" and can potentially scare off predators. This eye is even visible on the young, although with far less color.
Location and Habitat
These mantis' live in temperatures of 65 to 77 degrees F during the day and prefer fairly humid conditions as well. For this reason, they thrive well in South Africa, especially near the coastal areas.
Here is a video showing what one of the nymphs look like: