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Species Phyllovates chlorophaea - Texas Unicorn Mantis

Mexican Unicorn Mantis - Phyllovates chlorophaea Unicorn nymph - Phyllovates chlorophaea Mexican Unicorn Mantis - Phyllovates chlorophaea Phyllovates Chlorophaea - Phyllovates chlorophaea - male Phyllovates Chlorophaea - Phyllovates chlorophaea - male - female Phyllovates female - Phyllovates chlorophaea - female Phyllovates chlorophaea (Blanchard) - Phyllovates chlorophaea Texas Unicorn Mantis - Phyllovates chlorophaea
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Mantodea (Mantids)
Family Mantidae
Subfamily Vatinae
Genus Phyllovates
Species chlorophaea (Texas Unicorn Mantis)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Phyllovates chlorophaea (Blanchard)
Orig. Comb: Mantis chlorophaea Blanchard 1836
Explanation of Names
The projection off the top of the head resembles a unicorn
Numbers
2 spp. n. of Mex. (1)
Size
circa 60 mm?
Identification

Head bears a pair of flattened dorsal projections between the eyes and antennae. Green wings, often with a few small brown spots; rest of body various shades of brown.
Range
c TX to C. Amer. (1)
All BG records from south of Corpus Christi, save one record from Medina Co. (just w. of San Antonio)
Historical record from Florida reported by Blatchley (1920) that has never been substantiated.
Habitat
Gardens and forests
Season
Mostly: Aug-Dec (BG data)
Food
Seems to prefer flying insects much smaller than itself. In the wild frequently eats small butterflies and moths. In captivity will take flies, crickets, and occasionally roaches.
"Sit-and-wait" ambush-style predators, less prone to pursue prey than many other mantid species.
Life Cycle
Nymphs frequently curl their abdomen up over their back, in a posture reminiscent of a scorpion's tail, and also often hang upside-down from stems or branches in mimicry of a dead leaf.
Remarks
This species is becoming popular among captive breeding enthusiasts, not only for its distinctive appearance and large size, but also because its preference for smaller prey means that cannibalism is much rarer than in most other mantid species.
Captives have been reported using a defensive posture in which they raise the forelimbs, spread the wings, and expose the brightly marked abdomen.
Often attracted to lights at night in south Texas.
See Also
- Range: AZ
Arizona Unicorn Mantis, Pseudovates arizonae
Print References
Blanchard. 1836. Magasin Zool. Paris 5.
Blatchley, W.S. 1920. Orthoptera of Northeastern America. Indianapolis: Nature. 785 pp.
Hebard. 1932. Trans. Amer. Ent. Soc. 58: 213.
Helfer, p. 26--description (1)
Neck, Raymond R. 1980. Invertebrates of the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas with Special Reference to the Southmost, Cameron County, Area.
Orofino, Ippolito & Lombardo. 2006. Trans. Am. Entomol. Soc. 132(1+2): 205-222.
Internet References
Key to Florida Mantids - mentions historical (1920) record for Florida...
Works Cited
1.How to Know the Grasshoppers, Cockroaches, and Their Allies
Jacques R. Helfer. 1962. Wm. C. Brown Company.