Shield mantis

Shield mantis

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Credit: DR MORLEY READ/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Shield mantis (Choeradodis sp.) on a leaf. The insect's appearance provides camouflage as it lies in wait for prey, and also protects it from predators. Imitation of plants is known as phytomimesis. The mantis is a daytime hunter, with an indiscriminate and voracious appetite for insects, lizards, frogs and even small birds. The creature is well known for its cannibalism; the female often feeds on her partner during and after mating. Photographed in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

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