Subject: Looks like tree bark with 4 legs?
Location: Jacksonville, FL
November 19, 2014 3:24 pm
This bug has been sitting in relatively the same position for two days on the bricks along our window ledge. It’s November in Florida and we just had two cold nights. It looks as if it has only 4 legs. It’s facing down in the photo shown. Curious!
This is a marvelous image of a Florida Bark Mantid or Grizzled Mantid, Gonatista grisea, which you can read more about on BugGuide. Like other insects, which are known as hexapods, it has six legs, and the raptorial forelegs, which are modified for capturing and holding onto prey, are being held close to the head in your image. While this individual stands out against the light brick wall, it easily blends in unnoticed when lurking on a tree trunk, making it a very effective camouflage artist.
Thank you for this! What a difference it makes now with this identification and now being able to notice the two front legs tucked underneath. This mantis was up and walking about within a day of this post. Pretty cool. I appreciate your quick response.