Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 12:15 PM
Greetings, this perfect little creature was encountered in Southeast Az in September.
This positively delightful mantis is a Mexican Unicorn Mantis, Phyllovates chlorophaea. According to BugGuide, it is a rare native species. BugGuide reports sightings from Arizona and Texas. BugGuide also indicates: “This species is becoming popular among captive breeding enthusiasts, not only for its distinctive appearance and large size, but also because its preference for smaller prey means that cannibalism is much rarer than in most other mantid species. Captives have been reported using a defensive posture in which they raise the forelimbs, spread the wings, and expose the brightly marked abdomen.” This represents a new species for our site, which always excites us. We are also quite impressed with the quality of your photograph, the details of the specimen that are visible, and the wonderful facial expression you have captured.
Update: August 22, 2017
We just received a new submission that brought this nine year old posting to our attention. We suspect that since we created this posting, there has been a taxonomic change or that BugGuide realized that there were two species of Unicorn Mantids in different genera in the southern portion of the U.S. which is causing us to now link to the Arizona Unicorn Mantis on BugGuide.