African Mantis: Bite to Foot causes reaction

Possible African Mantis – Bark Coloured
Location: Zambia – North Western Province
October 11, 2011 3:04 pm
The following bug landed on my wifes foot. She became startled and tried to push it off. It bit her foot. Her foot swelled up and was quite painful for several days. See image 3 which was taken after 24 hours. She saw a doc who gave her an anti-biotic. Her foot got better after 3-4 days but still sore 6 days later. I have seen bugs like this several times in the last 6-8 weeks. Is it a type of African mantis?
Signature: Ken

Unknown African Mantis

Hi Ken,
In answer to your question, Yes, this is a mantis.  We don’t recognize the species and African insects can be very difficult to correctly identify.  Many are probably not yet described and there isn’t much internet information available on African species.  We are surprised to hear about the reaction your wife had to her encounter with the mantis.  We are not yet ready to agree that it was a bite.  Mantids have sharp spines on their raptorial front legs, and it is our editorial staffs experience that Preying Mantids will stab an attacker before they will bite.  We are also curious if this was an individual allergic reaction of if this Mantis actually has some type of defense venom.  We have not heard of any venomous Mantids, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.  We would be more likely to presume that perhaps there was some foreign substance on the Mantid, like perhaps some plant toxin or other agent, and that caused the reaction. 

Reaction to Mantis "Bite"

The red spots at the base of the forelegs should be a good diagnostic feature in our attempts to identify this Mantis.  We also hope to elicit the assistance of our readership in this identification.

Unknown, possibly venomous, African Mantis



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