Acontista sp.

Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis, Acontista sp. early instar nymph, image from Brazil

Family: Acanthopidae

Subfamily: Acontistinae

Tribe: Acontistini

Length: nymph in photo 5.3 mm


The early instar nymphs in genus Acontista (28 species) are dark and mimic the appearance and behavior of ants.  Adults are typically greenish, mottled with browns and whites, allowing a blending in with surfaces of flowering plants.  This and the other 12 genera that make up the family Acanthopidae are among the most remarkable Neotropical mantids in mimicry (as nymphs) and in camouflage (as adults).

Photo notes: The habitat for this early instar Acontista nymph was a tiny city park in Manaus, Brazil. From a distance it was a truly remarkable ant mimic, with the right size, color, shape, and behaviors.

Determined by Julio Rivera, Royal Ontario Museum.

Praying Mantis, Acontista sp., image from Brazil

American Insects site