Of the dozen or so species of diminutive grass-dwelling mantids, two genera have been particularly attractive to me. This one, no more than 4cm long, belongs to the genus Oxyothespis and features two stubby projections from the eyes. Though different morphologically, its eye shape reminded me of the New World genus Oxyopsis, whose name translates to “pointed spectacles.” Oxyothespis is the first mantid I’ve seen in the wild with hairy antennae. As opposed to some mantids that have feathery antennae arranged in a lobed symmetrical fashion, Oxyothespis has numerous hairs protruding from each segment. I’m curious why this type of antennae is rare in mantids and how it might function differently. Soon I will post about another strange hairy mantid that occupies another niche.

Photographed after capture under controlled conditions [5]

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