Orchid Mantis

One of the most extraordinary cases of mimicry, also due to the contribution made to research in this field, is that of the Malaysian orchid mantis, Hymenopus coronatus. From the moment of his birth, all his existence is oriented towards deception. As soon as they emerge from the egg, measuring less than 1 centimeter in length, they present a red and black coloration and a typical morphology of some unpleasant-tasting bugs (Reduvidae). Many predators avoid them because they associate the bright colors with the toxicity of the animal (Batesian mimicry). After the first change the red and black becomes a translucent white with shaded pink shades. They also change the habits of the mantis: the nymphs no longer live in the greenish vegetation of the forest feeding on small insects and mosquitoes, They move to white orchids and other flowers with which they blend perfectly. The Hymenopus also presents in the upper part of the abdom in a series of longitudinal stripes that simulate the enervations of certain orchids. In the middle of the thorax also present green bands that break the silhouette of the mantis in two unrecognizable parts of plant material (disruptlvo mimicry). Adults, with females up to 6-7 cm with bulky wings, and tiny males as small as 3-4 cm, lose many of these skills, but also have a white coloration with brown stripes. The Hymenopus also presents in the upper part of the abdom in a series of longitudinal stripes that simulate the enervations of certain orchids. In the middle of the thorax also present green bands that break the silhouette of the mantis in two unrecognizable parts of plant material (disruptlvo mimicry). Adults, with females up to 6-7 cm with bulky wings, and tiny males as small as 3-4 cm, lose many of these skills, but also have a white coloration with brown stripes. The Hymenopus also presents in the upper part of the abdom in a series of longitudinal stripes that simulate the enervations of certain orchids. In the middle of the thorax also present green bands that break the silhouette of the mantis in two unrecognizable parts of plant material (disruptlvo mimicry). Adults, with females up to 6-7 cm with bulky wings, and tiny males as small as 3-4 cm, lose many of these skills, but also have a white coloration with brown stripes.

orchid mantis

Mimicry in The Orchid Mantis

Mimicry in the animal world: survival strategies The extraordinary forms and colorations visible in the anim al world find their reason for being in the strategies used to survive. The first is the ethical necessity of the species, according to the broadest meaning of the term: not only camouflage but also deception. There are two main types of mythology, the cryptic and the fanic or aposematic. Crypticism is the capacity of a species to be confused with the ecosystem of life, taking advantage of form, color, personality or a combination of these elements. The great majority of animals show some cryptic quality, even without reaching the extraordinary levels of walking, of cephalopods and of many insects, reptiles and fish. Some organisms must be similar in form and color (hom om ormism and amomachism) to an inanimate object, others “rom pen” the structural lines of the body with particular bands and dibs (m im ethism). disruptive or atolitical somatic coloration), others imitate the color of their stratum and p resen the lower part of the body more clearly to hide the shadows (contrasom breado). When, on the other hand, an anim al ad op shows eye-catching colorations to avoid the aggression of a predator, one speaks of a fanatic or aposemotic m imism. The predator, in fact, if he has already had negative experiences with the species in question or even only by instinct, will most often recognize the showy livery of the potential prey and renounce the attack. Of all forms, it does not all work in such a linear way. It is intuitively clear that it is not necessary to be truly poisonous in order to be able to display a colorful coloration. Some insects, for example (among them many others and phantoms) have copied the colors and forms of real species into poisonous ones, making them effective against many dep rents ( m im etism or Batesian). Thus, all poisonous species also “co-opted” with each other, as well as combinations of easily recognizable colors, such as black-blue, black-blue, red-black (m im ethism). esquem as “mullerianos”). At the same time, the deceptions go far beyond these tricks with the use of the wide eye calls, similar to gigantic searching eyes, false heads or antennas used to divert attention from the depred ad of the weak hand, imitating the anatomy of dangerous animles. In nature, it is all right to stay alive. The mimicry in the mantis The passive defense The antis are m aestras m im ethism, deception and sim ulation, a field in which they sometimes come to rival the even more cryptic phantasms. This ability arises from the need to flee from birds and many more, some of them specialists in devouring insects, all endowed with good vision and capable of recognizing the most cryptic insect, thanks to a m ured skin image. with experience Sometimes the camouflage of the antis is so effective that it makes them practically invisible to an untrained eye. One of the forms to hide in the environment is to imitate the vegetable and animal world that surrounds them. This is the case, for example, of the m antis palo popa, from South Africa, very similar to a ram ita nodosa. In the resting position, extend the captive arms forward to lengthen the figure and hide the profile of the head. The larger and more subtle Helerochaeta, on the other hand, hold the branches in the form of T, like a crucifix, disappearing more aggressively in the thick bushes where they live. A similar morphology is also taken, among others, by the great Toxodera of the jungles of M alasia. Also other species, which on a first look seem cryptic, are visible if seen in their natural environment. This is the case, for example, of the Empusa pennata, similar to a dry branch of one of the many varieties of herbaceous plants of the Mediterranean forests. There are many species that imitate inanimate objects to flee from predators, such as the African Phyllocrania paradoxa, which looks like a dead leaf, with its stripes and curls at the ends of its wings and thorax. In this species, in addition, the young imitate in the first two stages the hormones, which are more numerous and undesirable for many predators (they are, therefore, Batesian mimes of the ants). Also the examples of Achantops, Branchisia and Deroplatys are almost identical to a second leaf; they inhabit, respectively, in the tropical forests of the Americas, in M ​​adagascar and in Southeast Asia. Even if they are not perfect copies of green leaves such as Phyllium phasmids, the m antis also present sophisticated cases of this particular camouflage, com or the large Rombhodera of Southeast Asia and the Choeradodis sudam ericanas. Sometimes it is the posture that contributes to the mystique. In the m antis that live on the trunks of trees, like the Liturgusa of tropical America and the Humbertiella of India, the body is crushed and remains attached to the substrate. A disruptive coloration in spots and bands, which emphasizes the lichens and furrows in the cortex, completes the deception. The desert Eremiaphila, own of O riente M edio, do the same thing hiding between pebbles and stones; his body, not at all, is abombed and com prized on the sides, and resembles a small stone; their long legs, firmly supported on the ground, support the active hunting style of this genre. Another strategy of widespread diffusion among the masters is the imitation of flowers, with all the advantages that this entails. Each continent comprises one or more specialized genera in this mystique: in Asia, the Creobroter \ in Africa, the Pseudocreobroter and the Harpagomantis; in South America, the Aconite. The livery is striking, with a variety of colors, bands and wide eyepieces on the wings. Often the very young are also Batesian mothers of the hormones. In the tropical rainforests of M alasia, where the orchid is found, the Theopropus elegans lives, g ran dey voracious ant flower whose livery is white and green with a large disruptive band on the wings. The young, as soon as they hatch from the eggs, are red and black, identical to those of the Hymenopus m antis or rchid. It seems, therefore, that many species try to imitate the chinches, with an unpleasant taste. A tropical variant, similar to Empusa but more severe, is the giant Gongylus gongyloides, which can reach 10-12 cm and can be found in the margins of the tropical forests of India. The most famous, that of the E mpidae, is the m arnical Idolomantis diabolicum, which seems to imitate the large flowers of some climbing plants of the African tropical forest, assuming a particular position, with the erect thorax and arms outstretched. that can reach 10-12 cm and that is in cu en tra in the margins of the tropical forests of India. The most famous, that of the E mpidae, is the m arnical Idolomantis diabolicum, which seems to imitate the large flowers of some climbing plants of the African tropical forest, assuming a particular position, with the erect thorax and arms outstretched. that can reach 10-12 cm and that is in cu en tra in the margins of the tropical forests of India. The most famous, that of the E mpidae, is the m arnical Idolomantis diabolicum, which seems to imitate the large flowers of some climbing plants of the African tropical forest, assuming a particular position, with the erect thorax and arms outstretched.

Active defense

Contrary to what is widely believed, religious antics are not poisonous at all and, even when they reach medium or large sizes, they are the preferred companion of a large number of birds and small mammals. They also tend to be prey to a large number of arthropods. Often, when the immense livery is not enough, he has to resort to other strategies to survive. One of them is to adopt a terrifying attitude. If they are threatened, in addition to being able to inflict wounds with their forelegs and legs, many species adopt this particular defensive behavior: they stand comfortably on the hind legs, swell the abdom in and They lengthen the fore legs, sometimes even the wings, trying to look bigger and more frightening. Some even have mular or bright colors and colors on the wings or on the inside of the forelegs, which, when they are exhibited, resemble a set of ammazing eyes observed by the aggressor. In some cases, as in the anti- religious M, they are capable of emitting a puff-like sound by priming the tempos with the abdom in. If even this trick does not work, some species have greater tanatosis, that is, they are capable of pretending to be very realistic (young Phyllocrania, Hymenopus and Acanthopus, for example). Or, like the Am eles or the young Sphodromantis, they prefer to take a big leap and go quickly. In many genres, the méchos can resort to flight to travel. This entails, or bviamente, great advantages, but it exposes them to a great number of new dangers, especially during their evening excursions in search of the hem bras. The m bats, which identify insects in flight using a sophisticated bio-radar, are their most fearsome enemies. To escape their attacks, many species of m antis have developed a kind of ear under the thorax, capable of perceiving the ultrasound of the mules, and are dropped instantaneously to the ground when they perceive the alarm frequencies. It is an extraordinary device, recently discovered, that achieves the greatest sophistication in males. Or a remarkable adaptation, common to different species, is the creation of a specific visual language. Very often, the young nymphs that have just left at the same time a large number of ootheca must live in a very limited area. In order to reuse the cap on the part of the co mp añ eros, who took them for small insects com estibles, the young m antis make particular figures with the captive arms. The young people of the Pseudocreobroter, for example, «make the bicycle»; that is, they rotate cyclically the previous legs, as if they were pedaling. The companions who observe them perceive the presence of another m antis and m the necessary distances. Also the Hestiasula brunneriana, in the forests of Sri Lanka, uses a similar system, always using the captive arms. The femures, broad and colored in red, black and orange, they give the legs the appearance of boxing gloves (hence the common name “m antis boxeadora”), thanks to which the young women make the so-called «semforo”, a broad and alternate movement, to notify their colleagues. These patterns of behavior are also useful in adulthood, when the time of morn- ing arrives. The males of the species involved use particular parades to present themselves to the animal and prevent it from devouring them.

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