IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

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This tiny mantis more than makes up for its size with its brilliant colors and camouflaging adornments; but don't be fooled - this delicate little flower is a skillful predator with lightning-fast reflexes. Measuring only 3 to 5cm long, the Spiny Flower Mantis is a mostly passive hunter; preferring to snatch pollinating insects from the air rather than wandering in search of prey. As with other mantids, mating can be a tricky business for males, who must stay alert or risk becoming the female's next meal. While there is evidence that these cannibalistic tendencies may be somewhat exaggerated in regard to mating habits (Brett), mantids aren't averse to feasting on their own kind when hungry or overcrowded. P. wahlbergii hatchlings are mostly black and could quite easily be mistaken for ants; the colorful markings and decorative spines of the adult form are slowly revealed with each successive molting. Adults of the species can be differentiated from other flower mantis by the golden spiral on its outermost wings. When threatened, the Spiny Flower Mantis will rear up and extend these wings, giving it the appearance of a much more intimidating creature with large, golden eyes.

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Supplier: Tanya Higgins

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