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.

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Vacation Time - Day 5 Part 1

Update: This is a Gargoyle Mantis (Empusa guttula) Family Empusidae 
I am only guessing when I say I think this must be some kind of bark mantis as I have never seen one like this before and it does not appear in my book.

It had the most astonishing antennae/crown on top of its head and I wonder if it part of its disguise or there for a purpose? It had the most astonishing antennae/crown on top of its head and I wonder if it part of its disguise or there for a purpose?

This was still a baby one measuring from head to tail about 1 1/2 inches.

At one time I brought the camera lens to close to it and it dashed like crazy to hang under my finger in order to get away from it and I had to smile. :)
With its coloration and the leaf-like part on its back, I would definitely say it falls into the leaf mantis category don’t you?

These claws are amazing and I would think it capable of gripping something even bigger than itself in them.

These eyes fascinated me with their stripes….. A front foot which it was using to hold onto my finger.
Its body…….

And the curled up abdomen indicating its youth. These nymphs are wingless. I have come across many different and interesting mantis but I think this has to be the most unusual one yet.
A closer look at the antennae/crown. And ideas about it? Is it just there for disguise?

30 comments:

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

What a strange looking mantis! With my lack of knowledge where insects are concerned, I would not even try to answer any of your questions. It has an amazing camouflage. It would be so difficult to see in the bush. Diane

Dejemonos sorprender said...

Nice pictures, interesting.. yes,These claws are amazing! is a very beneficial insect that, here there are lots..
Saludos..

Andrea said...

I have no words...
Great subject and great pictures (I still don't understand how you can hold the insect on one and and take pictures by the other hand :))

Sandra said...

weird and wonderful critter you found. no wonder you get good macro shots. you HELD IT? not me, i could not pick it up, how do you know it will not hurt you since it looks really scary to me. great shots as always and love the info

Friend of HK said...

what a funny looking mantis! A Very interesting creature, great captures!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

It sure is Diane. This has to be the strangest one I have ever found.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Dejemonos sorprender. I love finding them and having them around as they eat all the insects.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Andrea. It just takes practice. :) What I do is adjust the lens to a focal length and then bring it closer or further from the subject till it is in focas and press the button. Easy!! :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

LOL!! I handle most of the critters I photograph Sandra. Nothing has ever harmed me yet and the mantis are so cute and lovely. If you do not hurt them, there is no way they will harm you, not even spiders.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Friend of HK. This surely is a strange looking one. We have so many different ones here and they have to be one of my favourites to find and photograph.

Mary said...

What an extrordinary and odd creature! I kept visualizing it a hundred feet tall as some huge "monster that ate Africa". Actually, it is rather cute in its weirdness. It does seem to have a strange head.

Rusty said...

A strange but beautiful creature. We seldom see any kind of mantis in this part of the world - too cold, I guess - but on the rare time they appear they make wonderful photo subjects. As for hand holding unknown critters - I once picked up what looked like a small mantis - but was later advised by a local nature photographer I actually had held a water scorpion - which could live up to it's fearsome name. Oh well, we learn - I guess. ATB!

Gaelyn said...

I think it must be a young Prince just getting its crown. What an amazing species. These are awesome captures Joan. Those eyes....

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

It sure would be scary if it was that large Mary especially those claws.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Yes, they do tend to prefer warmer areas Rusty. I am very confident in my subject matter so would not pick up something which is harmfull but most species of insects will never harm you unless you hurt it.

Where did you find the water scorpion? They are only found in water and once again harmless to humans so you may have been given wrong information Rusty. Maybe you have a different type to what we do? Here is a link to what ours look like:
http://saphotographs.blogspot.com/2008/08/water-scorpion-they-breath-through_31.html

or maybe:
http://saphotographs.blogspot.com/2008/12/different-kind-of-water-scorpion.html

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Gaelyn. I have been finding some very odd looking creatures indeed. The eyes amaze me too, so different to ours.

Firefly said...

Even the bug lady sometimes find stuff she doesn't know. Don't you just love living in Africa.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

There is LOTS I do not know Jonker. LOL!! I have only been studying insects for about a year or so now and there is only one book available so if it is not there, I am a bit stuck for names. At least I know enough to identify it as a mantis. LOL!!

I dont think I would ever want to live in any other part of the world. This country is so diverse in so many ways, there is always something new. Besides where else would I find all this sunshine? :)

Becky and Gary said...

This is the strangest creature I have ever seen Joan, but leave it to you to locate something unusual. Such an interesting insect too, but how in the world did you ever spot it. Duh, You are the "Bug Lady" after all, that's how!LOL
B.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

I am always so happy to find something different like this Becky. When I first saw it, it looked like a strange kind of ant but something was different about it. On closer inspection, I could see what it actually was. Yeah, I guess not too much escapes my notice. LOL!!

Rusty said...

You know, it just might be you have found a previously unknown specimin in that mantis. It's a big world!

As for the water scorpion, indeed it was by what we then called the Turtle Pound. It certainly looked like a small, but skinny green mantis. It seems it could inflict a painful sting. I have never seen one since. ATB!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

We apparently have many species not yet identified and named Rusty so sooner or later I am bound to come across a few. I am trying to find the time to send it to someone who can tell me more about it.

Ouch!! That sounds awful. You are lucky it did not sting you. ATB too.

JM said...

This one is fantastic!
Joan, thank you for the information on the klipspringer.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

It sure is a most unusual mantis. I have never seen anythinglike it before.

You are welcome for the info Jose. :)

birdy said...

That's a wonderful mantis Joan. Photographing different body parts of a bug is a new idea for me. Always got some inspiration from your work.

Rambling Woods said...

Wow...what a cool looking mantis...

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

It think it is good to have a closer view like this as it is things people never see otherwise Birdy.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Cute little fellow hey Michelle? :)

kenramos said...

An unsual looking mantis, with lots of unusual detail, almost ornamental as so much it doesn't look real. I think I have seen one or one similar on another forum, where similar ones to yours are found in Croatia.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

I have never seen anything like the two I found on this trip Ken. Can you remember who posted the one from Croatia? I would like to go and have a look at it. Was it on Photomacrography? Probably Erlank?