What Bug Is That? The guide to Australian insect families.

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The Australian species, which belong to 8 genera in the subfamily Paraoxypilinae, are small mantids that mostly live on the ground or tree trunks where their cryptic coloration makes them difficult to detect. Males are fully winged and, in most species, females are apterous or brachypterous. Apterous females of Cliomantis closely resemble males but apterous females of Paraoxypilus are markedly dissimilar to males. While at rest, Paraoxypilus females frequently engage in 'boxing' displays, extending and flexing the fore legs alternately and, in some species, showing bright colour markings on the inner face of these legs. It is thought that this is probably a territorial display helping to space out individuals of the species. Females of Nesoxypilus from northern Australia are apterous and mimic ants ( Rhytidoponera ), running in short sharp bursts with foraging ants and displaying ant-like antennal movements. It is uncertain whether this mimicry assists the mantids to prey on ants or serves to protect the mantids from predators. Both sexes of Gyromantis have prominent short spines on the head and pronotum. The oothecae in this genus are very long and narrow and are attached to tree trunks.

  • Paraoxypilus tasmaniensis , male

  • Paraoxypilus kimberleiensis, female

  • Paraoxypilus tasmaniensis, female

  • Cliomantis sp.

  • Paraoxypilus kimberleiensis, male

  • Gyromamtis kraussii