Devil’s Flower Mantis Idolomantis Diabolica
One of the strangest and largest praying mantis of all, which is saying a lot when talking about praying mantids. The female can measure up to 13 cm in length and develop a range of natural colours, that allows them to mimic the Devil’s flower, a type of orchid. Mantids are predators and their hunting style involves sitting motionless and waiting for their pray to come within reach. They then whip their arms out and snag their pray – usually flies, beetles and in some cases birds. They use their colours to mimic flowers to lure their pray to within reach.
I can honestly say this is one of the oddest-looking creatures I have ever laid eyes upon. The ‘stinger’ at the back of the insect is not a stinger at all and is something much more innocuous: the fly’s genitals. Scorpionflies can be found all over the world and have been around Mesozoic age and they are believed to have been the forerunners of most of our modern moths and butterflies, collectively grouped in the Lepidoptera order.
Pipevine Swallowtail Caterpillar
The Pipevine Swallowtail is a beautiful fluorescent blue butterfly which is commonly found in North and Central America. However, its larvae are an armoured congealed-blood-red caterpillar which have tinted visor shades for eyes and a quadruple row of blunt horns running across its body. These caterpillars live in groups when young and as they grow older they wander off on their own before entering the chrysalis stage. Certainly, a strange looking larva.