Spiny Bark Mantis nymph


Insects are out and about as the monsoon rains have kicked up. Luckily for me, sphinx moths and mantids are plentiful in the eucalypt forest. Here is a spiny bark mantid nymph (Gyromantis sp., ~2 cm long) with matching red tinges on its bark substrate. Some insects are known to match colorations with the substrate they reside on as they mature, so it’s possible this could be an instance of that phenomenon. The genus Gyromantis (subfamily Paraoxypilinae) is characterized by spiniform processes on the head and pronotum and has two rows of femoral spines, possibly for better manipulation of small insect prey. Curiously, like Ciulfina spp., Gyromantis also waves its arms in a circular motion – could be associated with stalking prey, but I need more observations to determine the behavioral context.

Photographed in situ [1] unless otherwise stated

Gyromantis sp. eating a small moth that was attracted to my head torch. The deformed hind leg is likely from a mismolt. 

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