Look at the photo below, what do you see?
Initially, you may just think it’s a beautiful pink flower, resembling one from an orchid. In fact, what you see is a rare species of bug called the orchid mantis.
These really special bugs are native only to Malaysia and enjoy a bounty of different plants in the humid, tropical forests.
Now don’t judge a book by its cover, as these bugs may look pretty and delicate but this only adds to the danger.
These mantises perform a hunting tactic called aggressive mimicry meaning they will climb onto flowering plants in order to disguise themselves.
Then it waits for prey to get near, as the prey will think it is nothing but a harmless flower, it will get close and have its guard down, this is when the orchid mantis strikes.
Its resemblance to a flower is not only good for hunting, but also for protection from predators.
Often, they get approached by bees and butterflies looking to pollinate even when they aren’t sitting on a flower, that’s how effective their disguise can be!
Their diet mainly consists of smaller insects, who are reasonably easy to hunt, especially using the aggressive mimic technique previously mentioned.
But these deadly creatures are known to hunt larger animals such as lizards, frogs and even mice!
Regardless of their miniature size, their effective hunting strategies mean they can outsmart their prey, see for yourself below:
The orchid mantis is tiny, adult females only stretch around 6 cm long and their male counterparts will only grow to half of that!
They live pretty short lives too, and on average they live for less than 8 months. But this hasn’t stopped them from becoming a popular pet due to their stunning appearance.