Leaf mimic mantis from Ecuador

Leaf mimic mantis from Ecuador

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Credit: DR MORLEY READ/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Leaf mimic mantis. An unidentified mantis (order Dictyoptera) exhibiting mimicry. This imitation of plants is known as phytomimosis. The insect's appearance provides camouflage as it lies in wait for prey and also protects it from predators. The mantis is a daytime hunter, with an indiscriminate and voracious appetite for insects, lizards, frogs & even small birds. In some countries this aspect is exploited & the mantis bred for biological pest control. The creature is well known for its cannibalism; the female often feeds on her partner during mating. The mantis (meaning soothsayer or prophet) adopts its familiar praying stance when waiting to make a kill. Photographed in Ecuador.

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Keywords: aggressive mimicry, animal, dictyoptera, insect, insecta, invertebrate, invertebrates, leaf mimic, mantis, mimicry, nature, phytomimesis, wildlife, zoology

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