Orchid mantis: does it really mimic an orchid?

Why Evolution Is True

I believe I’ve posted several times about the “orchid mantis,” a term for a variety of mantises that mimic—or appear to mimic—orchids. These mantids are believed to sit among flowers, and resemble the flower so strongly that pollinators like bees try to pollinate them. But instead of getting pollen, the bee gets snapped up by the mantid when they fly into its arms. Here are a few of the mantids showing their resemblance to flowers:


Below is an Attenborough video showing the mantis deceiving a bush cricket, who loses its life. It also shows another cool fact: this species is not mimetic as a juvenile, but aposematic: it has “warning coloration” showing that it’s toxic. For some reason, perhaps connected with the mantis’s increasing size, it changes shape and color as it ages, changing from conspicuous to cryptic.

This is a classic example of “aggressive mimicry,” so called because the purported…

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About marksolock

I am a lawyer in Chicago with interests in pop culture and current politics.
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