Living With Mimicry

FlowerMantidThe Malaysian orchid mantis Hymenopus coronatus mimics a flower both in body shape and coloration. Historically, it has been assumed that the orchid mantis resembles a flower and uses crypsis to hide from unsuspecting prey and predators. I have seen photographs of flower mantids blending into flowers so well they are difficult to spot. A study by O’Hanlon and colleagues* however found that the resemblance to flowers is not always used to hide among flowers. The mantid often rests on foliage and feeds on pollinators that mistake the mantid for a flower. The color of the mantid is similar to the color of common flowers. The mantid can attract more prey when it is not near a flower.

*Pollinator Deception in the Orchid Mantis. James C. O’Hanlon, Gregory I. Holwell, and Marie E. Herberstein. The American Naturalist Vol. 183, No. 1 (January 2014) , pp. 126-132.
http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/673858

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in behavior, by jjneal, Environment. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Living With Mimicry

  1. How amazing! You never know what you’re missing when you don’t really look at something!

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