Spikey Purple Bug
August 6, 2009
All I know about this bug is that it is from South Africa. The person who took it thought it was a Preying Mantis, but I’m not so sure. Also, it appears to be standing on some sort of equally strange-looking plant.
This photo is significantly lacking in the type of details that would enable us to determine if the insect is a Mantis, but our first impression is that it is a Mantis. That is a guess and we could not locate any unusual Mantids from South Africa that match this image. We did find a photo on the Animal Photo Album Website that appears to be this Mantis and it is labeled a Pink Flower Praying Mantis, but there is no information as to its origins or scientific name. Can you provide any information as to its size? Perhaps one of our readers can supply us with an identification.
Update from Karl
I believe your mantid is a Spiny Flower Mantis nymph in the genus Pseudocreobotra (Mantodea: Hymenopodidae). It is either P. ocellata (my guess) or P. wahlbergii. The two species are very similar so I can’t say with certainty. Coloration among nymphs seems quite variable, ranging from white to brilliant pink, but there are always some areas with a greenish tinge. The adults look quite different, but are as or even more spectacular. Both species are popular among mantis breeding enthusiasts so there are a lot of photos on the internet. If you type the genus name into the “What’s that Bug” search engine you will find at least four previous postings showing both nymphs and adults. Regards. K
I forgot to add this link to a photo that looks pretty much identical to the one you posted (just a different perspective). You can see that the “spines” are mostly located on the underside of the abdomen which is folded up and over the rest of the body (a common posture for mantids). It does present a confusing image. Cheers. K