Bug of the Month February 2019: Lichen Mimic Mantid

Subject:  bug on a lichen
Geographic location of the bug:  Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk, Naples FL
Date: 02/01/2019
Time: 09:16 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This bug was about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inch big, just attached to the lichen. I found this about 11 a.m, and it was still there when I came back probably about 1 hr. later, and it showed no signs of life. I’m sure I was the only one who ever saw this, and I did show it to a family.
How you want your letter signed:  Sylvia

Lichen Mimic Mantid

WOW Sylvia,
We have no shortage of images of Lichen Mimic Mantids or Grizzled Mantids on our site and there are even a few that show them perfectly camouflaged against bark or lichens, but we have never seen a Lichen Mimic Mantid image more impressive than yours, not the least characteristic of which is the white color of the Mantid.  This is the whitest individual we could locate on BugGuide and it appears about a zone darker than the individual in your image.  We have never had the pleasure of observing Lichen Mimic Mantids in nature, but our own experience with California Mantids leads us to believe she is going to stay on that white patch where she blends in perfectly.  Like the California Mantis female, the Lichen Mimic Mantid female is flightless, and both are much more likely to remain in the same place if the hunting is good while the winged male is much more mobile, a good attribute since the male seeks out the female.  Though we already selected a Bug of the Month February 2019, since your submission arrived on the first of the month, we have no problem designating it as Bug of the Month February 2019 as well.

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