South African praying mantids wanted in Auckland

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  • #15136

    South African praying mantids wanted in Auckland

    Please contact Leilani directly – NOT REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE.

    My name is Leilani Walker and in 2012 I will be working towards my BSc Hons in Biology at the University of Auckland. My year’s thesis is focused on the invasive South African Praying Mantis, Miomantis caffra. Mantids are notorious for their habits of sexual cannibalism in which females consume males who have approached to copulate and M. caffra is no different. But not much study has been done on the particulars of this species? cannibalistic behaviour so my project is concerned with answering questions about the frequency of cannibalism; the possible advantages of cannibalising mates; ways that males try to avoid detection; and any preferences males may have for unmated females or females in better condition.

    At this stage things could either be dropped off at my house 329 St Heliers Bay Road) and if people would rather drop them into the university they should go to the reception of the Thomas Building. But I am also very prepared to pick mantids up.

    Please contact Leilani directly – NOT REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE.

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    From my understanding most mantids are generalist arthropod predators meaning they will basically eat any living insect that is small enough to hold on to. Having said that, the New Zealand species is generally smaller than the South African so maybe they are generally too small to feed on monarchs effectively.

    It’s true that the South African mantids can vary from pale brown to green and that the New Zealand ones have an iridescent blue patch on the inside of their foreleg (specifically their femur). A feature that identifies the South African mantis is that the middle section of the body (the section between the head and the abdomen – the pronotum) is narrower than the head. But looking for the blue spot is probably the easiest way of distinguishing between the two…

    Hope this helps,




    Leilani – I hope you will be reading this…

    We were advised recently that the New Zealand praying mantids do not affect our butterflies. Can you comment on that please?

    Also, while the South African mantids can be brown or green, the New Zealand ones are distinguishable by the iridescent blue patches on the inside of the forelegs.

    Would appreciate your input.


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