One day, Margaret Neville was strolling through her garden in South Africa when something colorful caught her eye. On the branch of her lavender bush was an insect that didn’t look familiar at all. It’s unique appearance was unlike anything that Margaret had ever seen.
The bugs not so pleasant appearance and the spiny feel of their multiple legs is enough to make anyone turn away from them in fear. But the bug in this story is quite different. Unlike most of its peers, this one was so beautiful and mesmerizing to look at that it’s almost hard to believe that it’s an insect.
“I was amazed at first sight,” she told The Dodo.
Anyone who sees the bug would understand why. The insect’s glass-like wings were colored white and green and further accentuated with a beautiful swirl. The rest of her body – her head and legs – are covered with tiny and purple flower-like growths.
Impressed by the bug’s beauty, Margaret took a photo of the bug and shared it with her friend, Kerri Martinaglia. She was equally amazed by the insect’s unique quality.
“When I saw her, I thought she was an exquisite work of art,” Kerri told The Dodo.
The two friends later found out that the insect in Margaret’s garden was called a “Flower Mantis“, a name perfectly suited to the beautiful creature. It is actually a type of praying mantis that has the ability to camouflage itself. It is its way of luring prey while staying among the flowers.
According to Wikipedia: “Flower mantises are those species of praying mantis that mimic flowers. Their coloration is an example of aggressive mimicry, a form of camouflage in which a predator’s colors and patterns lure prey. Most species of flower mantis are in the family Hymenopodidae.”
What the Flower Mantis usually does is climbing a plant and staying there until another insect comes. Once she sees one, the mantis strikes and begins to feast on its prey.
That trick was obviously effective, as the mantis that Margaret found was clearly thriving. Before she returned the insect to the lavender bush, Margaret came up with a name for her: Miss Frilly Pants.
“She has spent the entire month of September living on my lavender,” Margaret said. “She is still there now.”
After she shared pictures of the mantis online, it has earned lots of admirers. The Waterfall Retreat & Environmental Centre also uploaded a video of the insect in action. Because of how gorgeous the insect was, there were some people who couldn’t believe that such an animal even existed.
But as it turns out, her fans aren’t all human. Just recently, Margaret visited her garden and saw Miss Frilly Pants in the company of another mantis who looked like a suitor. Looks like there will be more Flower Mantises in Margaret’s garden, huh?
Because of their attractive look, Flower Mantises are popular as pets. Would you consider getting one for yourself?