T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Praying mantis (African) Miomantis caffra

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Mantodea
Family: Mantidae
Genus: Miomantis
Species: M. caffra
Binomial name: Miomantis caffra
Common name: African Praying mantis, Springbok mantis.

Miomantis caffra is a species of praying mantis native to Southern Africa. It was discovered in Auckland, New Zealand in 1978. The adults 32-60 mm long, They are predacious, that is they catch insects.
They can be variable in colour, green to brown and they lack the blue patch on the front legs that are visible on the New Zealand praying mantis. African female praying mantis will eat a male after (and while) they mate. 
The Miomantis caffra usually hides under leaves The egg case is fawn and when laid it is foamy like meringue, which then hardens.

Although not considered a pest species, it is thought to be displacing the New Zealand native species (Orthodera novaezealandiae) in urban environments of northern New Zealand. The males of New Zealand native praying mantis tries to mate with this species but are immediately killed. This is thought to be a reason why the NZ species (Orthodera novaezealandiae) are in decline.

A female with a winged male.




A rare photo showing the wings of a male African praying mantis. The male's antennae are longer than the females.


A female
 

A female laying an egg mass on some fabric hanging on a clothesline.

Note the dark pigment spots on the inner surface of the fore-femur, an identifying feature of the African praying mantis species. The number can vary. 

The photo below shows the difference between Orthodera novaezealandiae (New Zealand Praying mantis) and the African species, Miomantis caffra. Check the inside of the forelegs. The African species have a narrower waist. (Click to enlarge)
 

A female.


A female.


A female full of eggs. eggs.


A male.

A male that was attracted to a house light.


A male head


Mouthparts.
 

A yellow form among the flowers of Solanum laxum. Note the distinctive row of spots on the top of the body.
 

Photos of juveniles below.







A tiny juvenile just hatched on my finger 
 

A nymph 5 mm body length.
  

This object is an ootheca, (or egg case), deposited by a Miomantis caffra praying mantis. The ootheca is a system used by a number of invertebrates, including many molluscs and a number of the insects such as cockroaches and praying mantis. The mantis lay their eggs into a foamy protein which hardens and forms a protective case. Usually laid on vegetation or sometimes a surface like a wall or brickwork. The young can take 3-6 months to emerge.The ootheca of Miomantis caffra always has a tapered end on them like you get when you put toothpaste on a toothbrush.
 

Emerging young.

An old empty egg case.

Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information   http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/