Friday, 27 February 2015

Violin Mantis

Few days ago, during my morning exercise in our park, I noticed an insect which looked like a dried leaf. I first thought it was a grass hopper or a leaf hopper. But I was seeing it for the first time. Since it was sitting (or standing, I can't tell!) on the parapet of the fountain water well, it really stood out.
I quickly fetched my iPhone and took some pictures. See for yourself:



Later research revealed that it wasn't a grass hopper. Grass hoppers have 6 or 8 legs, whereas this creature had only four slender legs. What was it then? I mailed a few nature lovers. No joy for a day.

I decided to dig deeper into the net. And viola-- it shot back! 
It was an insect called 'Wandering Violin Mantis'. Why this name?
According to www.keepinginsects.com , "The Wandering Violin Mantis got its name because the adults look a bit like a violin. Their body would resemble the soundboard of a violin, the head would be the top of the violin and the long and thin midsection of the mantis would be the neck of the violin." See the next picture and tell us whether you agree or not?




You may have heard of the Preying Mantis-- which is known for being a carnivorous and consuming its partner! Preying Mantis is green in colour.

The Wandering Violin Mantis is not so 'inhuman'! It is one of the most amazing looking mantis species. It is a large mantis with amazing camouflage. It’s body has a lot of appendages that look like dried leaves and its body is long and thin to resemble a wooden stick. See the picture.




The Latin name of the Wandering Violin mantis is Gongylus gongylodes. It's natural habitat is in India and Sri Lanka. It’s not an easy mantis to keep as a pet, but it’s amazing to see it. I missed my DSLR. But few more pictures with the iPhone are here.



The Wandering Violin Mantis specializes in catching flying insects. It can grab a fly straight out of the air! It needs high temperatures and low humidity. The ideal temperature is 35 °C, with night temperatures dropping to around 20 °C. And this was exactly the prevailing weather in Secunderabad at that time!

Before I finished shooting, the mantis gave me a parting look as if to say "You crazy humans!"


Though I go to the same spot every morning, I haven't spotted the mantis again! Hope he is safe wherever he is.

For our Nature loving friends, you can browse our previous post on tiny sand-bubbler crabs and how they produce sand galaxies!

Bye till the next post.

Thanks for browsing.

    -    Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/ 27th Feb 2015