Subject: Strange mantis-like bug
March 19, 2016 6:09 am
I’ve recently captured a strange little bug which looks like a miniature mantis but has these 2 “tails” located at the abdomen. It has a very erratic response to flashing lights and movement around it. The bug sometimes goes even goes apeshit when either of the 2 factors come in play. I’ve tried feeding it small red ants and grapes but I think it eats ants but they could’ve escaped by the small air hole I’ve poked on the plastic lid but it has been surviving for 3 days now and I’m starting to see tiny droppings so I guess the ants were its meal. It’s just a little over 2cm in length and I’d say a rough estimate of half a cm in across. The camouflage is stone coloured with black brownish splatters. I’d really like to know the name and characteristics of this interesting little bugger as I really like to keep it as a pet!
We cannot imagine that this is anything but a Mantis, though we cannot locate a similar looking image online. The front legs on your individual do not have the typical appearance of the raptorial front legs characteristic of most Mantids, enabling them to grasp prey. Perhaps it is just the camera angles. We will continue to attempt to identify your Mantis to at least the genus level.
thanks for the reply and your attention towards this particular matter, I know that it isn’t mantis but at first glance it looks to me as it was a mantis-like creature. Particularly due to it’s forelegs tucking in like a mantis (I don’t have much knowledge on mantises though I have seen one up close, and this struck me on first sight as one). It has been 5 days now and it’s still going strong, I’m pretty sure its surviving off the red ants I keep dropping into the air hole. I’ve observed that it sits waits for its prey to cross it instead of going for the hunt. When the red ants come across it, the creature just grasps the ant, places it in its mandibles and sort of throws it aside, but as I’m typing this, I’ve observed it has just devoured one red ant (I’m pretty sure it has as I saw it swoop it’s head downwards and the mandibles are executing a chewing motion) I can provide you guys more and maybe higher quality photos of it upon request, I maybe sending some better ones your way later during the day.
Also, I found out the two ‘tails’ are actually the ovipositor (whatever that means) and whilst typing this again I caught some “winged ants” and the creature finds them particularly edible and devours one within seconds of it crossing its path unlike the red ants which it is very picky.
Anyways hope this helps in your data matching
We look forward to receiving additional images. Please try to get details of the forelegs.
Update: March 21, 2016
please find attached to this email are photos of the bug, I’ve tried getting the best shot out of my crappy iphone 6 camera and these were the best ones I’ve chosen to send to you.
there are 4 previews of the bug together with 13 other photos attached
Thanks for the new images Zuohan. The front legs look more clearly raptorial in your new images. This is a very small Mantis, but we still do not have a species for you.
Update: March 22, 2016
Oh so it really is a mantis? Wow what a petite one it is! Well the mantis recently just gave up and died (Heart breaks) about an hour ago, I can maybe send it to you guys for further analysis on it. I live in Singapore and I can cover the cost of shipping to you guys if you allow it. I’ll source for a small capsule of sorts and add silica gel to preserve it. I don’t the proper way to preserve a dead so maybe you can offer me some guidance.
Thanks for the offer. You should consider donating the dead Mantid to your local natural history museum for identification.