For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa: please click on the following links:
Insects and related species: Antlions - Ants - Bees - Beetles - Bugs - Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars - Centipedes and Millipedes - Cockroaches - Crickets - Dragonflies and Damselflies - Grasshoppers and Katydids - Mantis - Stick Insects - Ticks and Mites - Wasps - Woodlice
Plants, Trees, Flowers: (Note: Unless plants fall into a specific species such as Cacti, they have been classified by their flower colour to make them easier to find) Bonsai - Cacti, Succulents, Aloes, Euplorbia - Ferns and Cycads - Flowers - Fungi, Lichen and Moss - Grass - Trees
Animals, Birds, Reptiles etc.: Animals, Birds, Fish and Crabs - Frogs - Lizards - Scorpions - Snails and Slugs - Snakes - Spiders - Tortoise, Turtles and Terrapins - Whipscorpions
Other photography: Aeroplanes - Cars and Bikes - Travel - Sunrise - Water drops/falls - Sudwala and Sterkfontein Caves etc.

Videos: YouTube

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bark Mantis

We have about 185 known Mantis species here in SA and I am always finding new ones. Many of them are either called "leaf" or "bark" as this is what they look like.

Just as well that I went for an early walk this morning as the wind came up a bit later and I would not have been able to take even one picture. I went around the yard and at the small garden near the pool, there is huge cycad growing. I started peering under the leaves to see if I could find anything, maybe spiders....... This is a juvenile Bark Mantis (Tarachodes) and if it was not for his legs, I would have missed him.
It is of medium size and move about the trunks of trees in search of caterpillars and other prey.
It is fairly flattish to resemble bark. His total body length is about 1 1/2 inches and what was interesting to me, besides the way he blended in, was the fact that he does not have a long neck as most mantids do.
He has incredible eyes and as he was starting to get restless, I dashed to the house to find something to catch him in so that I could get better pics of him as it was rather dark under the tree and cycad.
All his limbs have these fine hairs on them in order for them to blend in better with the bark of trees as it breaks the solid line of his legs.
They eat caterpillars and other insects found on the trees.
The females of this species are quite maternal and will spend up to 70 days looking after her egg case.

No comments: