What kind of mantis is this ?
April 16, 2010
I found it in the desert on in a sandy area.
Jeddah diver
Western Saudi Arabia desert

Unidentified Preying Mantis

Dear Jeddah,
Our initial attempts to identify your Preying Mantis have not produced any results.  Hopefully will will have better luck with additional searching, or perhaps one of our readers can provide an answer.

Update:  April 18, 2010
Thanks to Ben’s comment, we now know that this is a Checkered Mantis, Blepharopsis mendica, though the insectstore website indicates common names Thistle Mantis and Devils Flower Mantis.  Here is some content from that website:  “This species originates from all over Asia and Africa, in countries such as Egypt, Algeria, Ethiopia, India, Israel, Libya, Morocco, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey, and Cyprus. Females rarely exceed lengths of 6cm, males a few millimetres shorter. The wings cover the whole abdomen in both sexes. Sex determination is the usual, 8 segments for the male, and 6 or 7 for the female. Another sexual dimorphism is the difference on appearance of the antennae. The males have more feathery, split antennae, and the females long, thin and straight.  As adult, if kept humid, the Blepharopsis will moult into a beautiful lime green specimen, with white dotted wings. They can also take a green form as nymphs; however, it is more common that before adult, they are a light brown, or beige colour.  The abdomen is covered in small, rubbery spines. This helps to camouflage the body within dry bushes or reeds. Nymphs spend most of their lives with their abdomens curled up to their body. It is only as adult that they uncurl, and die to the formation of wings, are then unable to re curl. When gently blown, they will slowly rock from side to side. This is typical behaviour or most cryptic species. This swaying is mimicking a dried leaf or branch swaying in the wind. In a swaying bush, this behaviour could make the mantis go completely unnoticed.

3 Responses to Preying Mantis from Saudi Arabia is Checkered Mantis nymph

  1. Ben says:

    Dear Jeddah,
    This looks like a nymph of a checkered mantis, Blepharopsis mendica. This species is not uncommon here in Israel, so it is likely native to Saudi Arabia as well.
    Great picture!

  2. jeddahdiver says:

    Thank you Ben for the info.
    It is amazing how such a delicate and sophisticated insect lives in a dry, hot, barren land with so little to feed on, I found this guy on a dry piece of wood branch I was about to use to lit a fire in that desert evening. I think there were not a single tree or plant in at least 2 Kilometer radius!

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