Subject: what is this green creature?
Location: New Zealand, Wairarapa
March 10, 2014 6:37 pm
Hi – that’s on/around our window for more than 2 weeks… quite big, and “social”.
It looks funny and I tried to identify what is it: it has only 4 legs and no claws, and it’s bright green.
This is a Preying Mantis and you are mistaken on the number of legs. You are counting the four walking legs, but not the pair of raptorial front legs that are being held tightly to the body. The raptorial legs are the pair used to grab prey. We cannot be certain, but we suspect this may be a native and endemic species, the New Zealand Mantis, Orthodera novaezealandiae, which is pictured on GrahameNZ Photographix and Friends of Te Henui where the yellow antennae are visible. Canterbury Nature has a nice profile on the New Zealand Mantis, and the distinctive purple spot on the inside of the foreleg femur is described, but unfortunately not visible in your photo. We are relatively certain your Mantis is the New Zealand Mantis, and not the South African import, Miomantis caffra, which is likely competing with the native species, possibly threatening its survival. According to TERRAIN: “The Miomantis caffra usually hides under leaves …. Although not considered a pest species, it is thought to be displacing the New Zealand native species (Orthodera novaezealandiae) in urban environments of northern New Zealand.”
great! thank you a lot!