Sunday 10 December 2017

Iridescent Bark Mantis

Image: Frupus
Metallyticus splendidus
Iridescent Bark Mantis?

Or a cockroach dressed up for disco night?

Did you know that mantids are basically cockroaches who turned predatory and became extremely good at catching prey?

Image: Frupus
The cockroach's weapon of choice was a series of sturdy spikes on its forelegs, which gradually evolved into a set of raptorial appendages. Quite a few insects opted for the same weaponry, one of my favourites being the Ochtheran Mantis Fly. Cockroaches just happen to be among the most successful wielders of the raptorial blade.

Most mantids don't look all that much like roaches, what with their dignified poise and their head perched atop an elegant neck (which must work great for prey-spotting because it's something they share with Mantisflies. Great minds, dear boy. Great minds!). But there are some mantids that prefer to keep their nose to the ground or, in this case, the bark.

Several different species and genera are referred to as Bark Mantids because they scamper about on trees, hunting prey. Most of them rely on brown colours and barky patterns for camouflage...

The Iridescent Bark Mantis... not so much.

These guys strut their stuff in Southeast Asia, looking as bright and beautiful as a Tiger Beetle. But while Tiger Beetles put all their killing prowess into their formidable mandibles, Iridescent Bark Mantids put it all into their equally formidable forelegs.

It's all good! So long as there are some sharpened points with a bit of muscle behind them, those prey items will drop like flies.

Image: Frupus
Wingless nymph
Mantids are one of those insects that don't go through an enormous metamorphosis during their lifetime. No maggot or caterpillar stage for them, young mantids look almost exactly like wingless versions of their parents.

In Iridescent Bark Mantids, it turns out adults are relatively demure. Without wings to cover themselves up, nymphs are even more colourful with their red legs, yellow wingcases and a pair of spots near their tail.

You can almost imagine the arguments: "Where do you think you're going dressed like that?"
"But mum, it's disco night!"


Lear's Fool said...

Just can't get enough of that crazy roided fly, can you? :)

(they're awesome!)

Joseph JG said...

Yup! That fly is amazing, I'm forever impressed that a little fly became such a muscleman!

Kerry Schultz said...

Species which have some good use for humans honey bee is on the top list. Because it has a huge source of honey which is having tremendous benefits for humans.

Fruchtpudding said...

Original creator of those images and that video here, I just wanted to say thank you for actually attributing them properly. I see my stuff used elsewhere frequently and most don't bother crediting it. So thank you from me!

Joseph JG said...

You're welcome! Thanks for making them available!