Hymenopus coronatus and Phalaenopsis
Whilst some orchids can imitate the shapes, colours, textures and odours of insects, some insects too are no slouch in the art of imitation.The Malaysian Orchid Mantis or Hymenopus Coronatus, lives on top of the Orchid Blossoms in the rainforests of Indonesia and Malaysia. Their camouflage is so perectly adapted to their surroundings that it is almost impossible to say were the plant ends and the insect starts. The Orchid Mantis is a relatively normal sized species of mantis. The females can get over 5-8 cm in length. The males can get over 3-4 cm in length and are adult much quicker.
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According to Wikipedia:
Hymenopus coronatus, also called H. bicornis, is a mantis from the rain forests of southeast Asia. It is known by various common names including walking flower mantis and (pink) orchid mantis. It is one of several species known as flower mantises from their resemblance and behaviour.
DescriptionThis species is characterized by brilliant coloring and a structure finely adapted for camouflage, mimicking parts of the orchid flower. The four walking legs resemble flower petals, the toothed front pair being used as in other mantises for grasping prey.
H. coronatus shows some of the most pronounced sexual dimorphism of any species of mantis; males can be less than half the size of females.
First stage nymphs mimic bugs of the family Reduviidae, which have a powerful bite and are foul tasting.
The mantis can change its colour between pink and brown, according to the colour of the background. According to certain Australian researchers, say it attracts more insects than the real thing.
DistributionHymenopus coronatus is found in the rain forests of Southeast Asia, including Malaysia and Indonesia.
Mimicking Mantis Outperforms Orchids
According to Australian Geographic reporting on some recent scientific research conducted in Australia to investigate whether the mimicry of the praying mantis Hymenopus coronatus has evolved as a way to increase the success of predation or the efficacy of camouflage:
In the plant world, orchids use scent and bright colours to attract insects in a bid to spread their pollen and reproduce. It has long been assumed that the orchid mantis mimics flowers in order to lure these same insects.
Australian researchers investigating this theory were stunned to discover that the species is around 30% more effective at attracting pollinators than the real thing.
“We measured the hourly rate at which the pollinators flew up to the mantis and compared that to real flowers,” says Dr James O’Hanlon, an ecologist at Macquarie University in Sydney and the lead researcher. “I thought they’d be comparable, but the orchid mantis went way over.”
Graham Milledge, a mantis taxonomy expert at the Australian Museum, says the discovery is exciting.
“The significance of the discovery is that it demonstrates that flower mimicry in this species is used to actively attract prey rather than just being for camouflage,” he says.
- Do Plants and Insects Coevolve? (queenslandorchid.wordpress.com)
- Do Plants and Insects Coevolve? (soundeagle.wordpress.com)
- Secrets of the orchid mantis revealed – it doesn’t mimic an orchid after all (jdjgilbert.wordpress.com)
- Secrets of the orchid mantis revealed – it doesn’t mimic an orchid after all (theconversation.com)
- Hymenopus coronatus (en.wikipedia.org)
- Deceptive orchids: luring wasps for pollination (australiangeographic.com.au)
- Mimicking mantis outperforms orchids (australiangeographic.com.au)
- Deceptive orchids: luring wasps for pollination (pet-mantis.com)
- Orchid Mantis (Hymenopus Coronatus) (insectstore.com)
- Orchid Mantis Perfectly Mimics Flowers In Order To Lure Prey [VIDEO] (isciencetimes.com)
- Mantis: las reinas del mimetismo (allyouneedisbiology.wordpress.com)
- Orchid Mantis (facebook.com)
- Pollinator Deception in the Orchid Mantis (jstor.org) O’Hanlon, J., Holwell, G., Herberstein, M., & Natural History Editor: Mark A. McPeek. (2014). Pollinator Deception in the Orchid Mantis. The American Naturalist, 183(1), 126-132. doi:1. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/673858 doi:1
- Predatory pollinator deception: Does the orchid mantis resemble a model species (currentzoology.org) J. C. O’Hanlon, G. I. Holwell, M. E. Herberstein (2014). Predatory pollinator deception: Does the orchid mantis resemble a model species. Current Zoology 60(1): 90–103.
- The evolution of imperfect mimicry in hoverflies (eprints.nottingham.ac.uk) Gilbert, Francis (2004). The evolution of imperfect mimicry in hoverflies. Insect Evolutionary Biology. CABI. (In Press)
- The Roles of Colour and Shape in Pollinator Deception in the Orchid Mantis Hymenopus coronatus (onlinelibrary.wiley.com)
- Orchid Sexual Deceit Provokes Ejaculation (jstor.org) Gaskett, A., Winnick, C., Herberstein, M., & Natural History Editor: Henry M. Wilbur. (2008). Orchid Sexual Deceit Provokes Ejaculation. The American Naturalist, 171(6), E206-E212. doi:1. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/587532 doi:1
- Orchid Mantis Attract Prey by Mimicking Flowers, Study Confirms (scienceworldreport.com)
- Evolution for beginners 2: coevolution (allyouneedisbiology.wordpress.com)
- Fossil Focus: Arthropod–plant interactions (palaeontologyonline.com)
- Orchids: different colours and shapes for everyone (allyouneedisbiology.wordpress.com)