Many people are aware of the praying mantis—the leaf-like hunter of the insect kingdom. Careful and cunning, these creatures use deception and wit in order to survive. One of the most fascinating types of praying mantises is that found in Sierra Leone—the ghost mantis (Phyllocrania paradoxa).
Ranging from dark brown to a light greenish brown, the ghost mantis most closely resembles the appearance of dead leaves. The ghost mantis captured in the illustration above looks similar to that of the leaves we see falling during the early autumn months. In their own natural habitat, they camouflage themselves amongst the fallen leaves in the forests of Africa. This keeps them safe from insect-eating birds, while also avoiding detection from their own prey.
Using their strengths to their advantage
The ghost mantis is the silent but deadly type. Relying on their camouflage, they sit quietly and wait amongst the dead leaves for their prey to come to them. Once spotted, they wait for the perfect opportunity and then strike with incredible speed. This kind of speed and cunning makes them excellent hunters, but they are not overly aggressive.
Ghost mantises as pets
In the wild, these creatures are quick and sharp, but did you know they also make fantastic pets? Indeed, the ghost mantis is one of the most popular types of praying mantises for people to take in as pets. That’s because they’re easy to keep, have longer lifespans, and are much less aggressive than other types of praying mantises.