Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Wandering Violin Mantis

Gongylus gongylodes
Today's animal is yet another one of the many suggestions that have been pouring in lately. Thanks everyone! Meet the Wandering Violin Mantis, also known as the Indian Rose Mantis and the Ornate Mantis.

You can see where the "Ornate" name comes from. These Mantises sport very slender bodies, but huge limbs that are very leafy in appearance and allow them to blend into the foliage. A useful trait when you hunt flying insects! Males are actually a bit smaller than the females, but they are able to fly, while the females have small, useless wings.

Wandering Violin Mantises go through several moltings before reaching adulthood, and are sexually mature about two weeks after that. Females lay an egg mass called an Ootheca. It contains up to 3 dozen eggs and has a protein casing that protects them.

Wandering Violin Mantises are native to India and Sri Lanka, and require very warm environments to survive. The species is often kept by hobbyists, but they are not recommended for the first time Mantis owner. They need heat pads to stay warm, and because they eat flying insects, they also need a high netted cage that prey can be released into.

IUCN Status : Not Listed
Location : India, Sri Lanka
Size : Body Length up to 4.5in (11cm)
Classification : Phylum : Arthropoda -- Class : Insecta -- Order : Mantodea
Family : Empusidae -- Genus : Gongylus -- Species : G. gongylodes

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