Arthropods • Earth.com

South American dead leaf mantis

(Acanthops falcata)

galery

Description

Acanthops falcata, common name South American dead leaf mantis or boxer mantis, is a species of praying mantis in the subfamily Acanthopinae of the family Acanthopidae and is one of many praying mantises from various genera that resembles a dead leaf. As the common name describes, A. falcata resembles shriveled or dead leaves. It is not to be confused with Acanthops falcataria, a different species in the same genus that is often referred to with the same common name. Acanthops species have an unusual degree of sexual dimorphism compared to other mantids. The flightless female of A. falcata resembles a curled dead leaf and weighs 400–500 mg. It has reduced wings that can be lifted to reveal brightly colored warning colors on the abdomen. The male weighs under 200 mg and has long functional wings that resemble a flat or rolled-up dead leaf at rest. When perched, males often assume a posture where the head, grasping legs and prothorax add to the camouflage by recreating the appearance of a dead leaf's shriveled petiole and stipules. Acanthops is a genus of mantises in the family Acanthopidae, containing 20 species that can be found in Central and South America. Most species in Acanthops are colloquially referred to as the dead leaf mantis, a common name also used for species in several other mantid genera. The genus name translates from the Greek nouns and as "thorn eye", referring to the presence in all Acanthops species of a shorter or longer conical tubercle on top of each eye. Note that such ocular tubercles also occur in various other mantid genera. Acanthops species have an unusual degree of sexual dimorphism compared to other mantids. The flightless female resembles a curled dead leaf folded back on itself, and weighs twice as much as the males do. It has reduced wings that can be raised to reveal bright warning colors on the abdomen. The male has long functional wings that resemble a flat or rolled-up dead leaf at rest. When perched, males often assume a posture where the head, grasping legs and prothorax add to the camouflage effect by recreating the appearance of a dead leaf's shriveled petiole and stipules.

Taxonomic tree:

Domain:
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum:
Class: Insecta
Order:Mantodea
Family:Acanthopidae
Genus:Acanthops
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