Bug Blog

The Violin Mantis Possesses The Best Camouflage

The Violin Mantis Possesses The Best Camouflage

The insect community if full of bugs that are great at hiding. Possessing the proper camoflauge to match your habitat is certainly a help. Remaining undetected as a result of camouflage is a major benefit for the insects that possess this adaptation. Being camouflaged means that insects can do just about anything within their natural environments without having to worry about predators. For example, camouflaged insects can hunt, hide and reproduce all within their natural habitats. There are thousands of different insects that are endowed with camouflage, and it is hard to choose the insect that wears it the best. However, many experts would probably mention the violin mantis as having one of the most effective forms of camouflage of all insects.

The wandering violin mantis (VM) is endemic to Southern India and Sri Lanka. These mantises are known by a variety of other names but their scientific name is Gongylus gongylodes. These mantises belong to the order known as Mantodea, and the family Empusidae. They get their name from their wide abdomen and skinny neck, which is not a very accurate visual description of these mantises.

If you have ever spotted a VM then you should consider yourself extremely lucky, as very few VM sightings are reported. This is, of course, due to the effective way in which they blend into their natural surroundings. You could step right in front of a VM and still not see it. In fact, these mantises look so much like dried up plants, that you would not be able to tell the difference between the insect and the plants surrounding it.

VMs feed solely on flying insects, so they must remain still for long periods of time in places that flying insects find attractive. VMs are found in coffee plantations often since flies are attracted to degrading coffee pulp. As fearsome as the mantises sound, the truth is that they are quite timid, and are easily intimidated. These mantids will happily forget about an appetizing meal if the insect prey is too big or poses a threat to the mantis.

Do you think that these mantises are capable of flight? Have you ever heard of a mantis species that could fly?