30 of the Most Absurd-Looking Mantis Species

Mantises are something of an eccentric in the world of insects. They can fly—the males can, at least—but more often they move slowly among shrubs and flowers. They can be fearsome hunters, but usually wait for their prey to find them. Most of all, they are hyper-adapted to their environments, and there are more than 2,000 species of mantises, each with the looks and skills they need to thrive in their corner of the world. They all share the distinctive bent forelegs and long abdomens, but each has singular adaptations that make it both a fearsome hunter and elusive prey.

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The spiny flower mantis (Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii) hails from Sub-Saharan Africa and features prominent eyespots on its wings to deter predators.1 It grows to between one and two inches—making it one of the smaller mantis species—but it is still a capable predator itself. The intricate spikes and dappled green-and-white coloration it sports blends into surrounding flora so well that some insects will attempt to pollinate them, which ends in a meal for the mantis rather than successful pollination.
Spiny Flower Mantis