Animal of the Week: Spiny flower mantis
By Kathrine Ledermann, Features Contributor
The spiny flower mantis, also known as Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii, is native to areas in eastern and southern Africa. Males and females can look similar to each other in color but vary slightly in size; the males tend to be a little larger. The females also have spines near their wings while males do not. They come in shades of pink, yellow, white or combinations of the three. The green and yellow on the mantis’s wings resemble a pair of eyes to predators, which keep the mantis safe. To their prey, the mantis can closely resemble a flower, especially when it camouflages alongside an actual one. When another insect attempts to pollinate on the “flower,” the mantis takes that moment to attack and eat them. They can grow to be around 1.5-2 inches, so their prey are typically pretty small; bees and flies are common meals. However, if you plan to get one as a pet, be warned that they are cannibalistic — this is common for mantises.
Fortunately, this species is not at risk of endangerment. Their main requirement for their habitat is high humidity, but other than that they are fairly flexible. They are found all over sub-Saharan Africa, although they are most abundant in jungles or more flower-abundant areas.