Orthodera novaezealandiae

The New Zealand praying mantis is a medium sized insect, usually a bright apple green in colour, although some variation in colour do occur. They have large bulging eyes, set in a triangular face, which they often move side to side when tracking their prey. They have a characteristic blueish spot on the inside of their front legs. These large and powerful front legs are held up together in front of their body, appearing as if they are praying. When an unsuspecting prey comes nearby, the front legs strike out in a quick grabbing motion. Dinner is caught.

Their eggs are laid in two neat rows, covered in a foamy egg case called an ootheca. The foamy substance hardens overtime, protecting the eggs inside. These oothecae are laid on the surface of branches and tree trunks, but also on the sides of fences and houses.

Praying mantis are renowned for their sexual cannibalism, whereby the females eat males during mating (or even before they get a chance to try!). However, the New Zealand praying mantis is rarely cannibalistic, preferring to snack on flies rather than fellow males.

Check these links for more info on the Praying Mantis in NZ

iNaturalist.nz: Observations of Orthodera novaezealandiae

Wikipedia: Information on Orthodera novaezealandiae

Forest and Bird: Springbok Invasion


Click on the image to visit the official observation.

iNaturalist.nz image © Amaya M.
iNaturalist.nz image
© James Bailey

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