Hymenopus coronatus

Ranitomeya

Arachnoknight
Joined
Oct 11, 2012
Messages
250
Hymenopus coronatus, the Orchid Mantis. I've kept these guys a few times in the past and only managed to breed them once with rather poor results--the females laid plenty of oothecae but only very few, very weak nymphs hatched out. I just obtained a few more and hopefully things go better this time.

This is a first instar nymph and their red and black aposematic coloration is thought to be a deterrent against predation for when they first hatch out. This is Batesian mimicry, the type of mimicry where a harmless, edible organism mimics one that is distasteful, poisonous, or venomous.

They shed their disguise as an assassin bug nymph or similar distasteful or venomous insect in exchange for that of a flower in the second instar. This is aggressive mimicry or Peckhamian mimicry, the type of mimicry where organisms gives off a signal--whether visual, auditory, olfactory, or other--in order to deceive and exploit another organism.

Note the femoral lobes on the walking legs that give the mantis the appearance of having petals for legs.

A subadult pair from last year. They are sexually dimorphic with the males being considerably smaller than the female at maturity. The males molt fewer times in order to reach adult size than the females, so if both sexes of the same age are kept well-fed and warm, the males may mature and begin senescing by the time the females have both molted into adults and become receptive to mating.

A pair of adults from last year. Males will sit on the wings of the females as a form of mate guarding--they physically prevent other males from climbing into position to mate and will fend off subsequent suitors. They will remain on the females for weeks, even capturing prey on the backs of the females. There's probably some selection going on here as males that fail to remain undetected would be eaten and would become less likely to be the father of all her offspring--perhaps this was one of the driving forces behind the development of the disparity in adult size.


Contrary to their common name, these mantises have recently been found not to be orchid mimics, but instead, a general mimic of a large number of Malaysian flowers. They're so good at mimicking sympatric flowers that when placed alongside the real thing, they are more successful at attracting pollinators than the flowers themselves--probably because they not only appear to be flowers, but also because they give off chemical cues that mimic flowers.

A couple interesting papers:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25483791
http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/673858?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
 

Andrea82

Arachnoemperor
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Messages
3,610
Thank you for this informative post and the reading material!
 

Tuffz

Arachnoknight
Joined
Dec 13, 2015
Messages
263
Such a beautyful mantis species :) Definitely my favourites
 

basin79

ArachnoGod
Active Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2013
Messages
5,076
Hymenopus coronatus, the Orchid Mantis. I've kept these guys a few times in the past and only managed to breed them once with rather poor results--the females laid plenty of oothecae but only very few, very weak nymphs hatched out. I just obtained a few more and hopefully things go better this time.

This is a first instar nymph and their red and black aposematic coloration is thought to be a deterrent against predation for when they first hatch out. This is Batesian mimicry, the type of mimicry where a harmless, edible organism mimics one that is distasteful, poisonous, or venomous.

They shed their disguise as an assassin bug nymph or similar distasteful or venomous insect in exchange for that of a flower in the second instar. This is aggressive mimicry or Peckhamian mimicry, the type of mimicry where organisms gives off a signal--whether visual, auditory, olfactory, or other--in order to deceive and exploit another organism.

Note the femoral lobes on the walking legs that give the mantis the appearance of having petals for legs.

A subadult pair from last year. They are sexually dimorphic with the males being considerably smaller than the female at maturity. The males molt fewer times in order to reach adult size than the females, so if both sexes of the same age are kept well-fed and warm, the males may mature and begin senescing by the time the females have both molted into adults and become receptive to mating.

A pair of adults from last year. Males will sit on the wings of the females as a form of mate guarding--they physically prevent other males from climbing into position to mate and will fend off subsequent suitors. They will remain on the females for weeks, even capturing prey on the backs of the females. There's probably some selection going on here as males that fail to remain undetected would be eaten and would become less likely to be the father of all her offspring--perhaps this was one of the driving forces behind the development of the disparity in adult size.


Contrary to their common name, these mantises have recently been found not to be orchid mimics, but instead, a general mimic of a large number of Malaysian flowers. They're so good at mimicking sympatric flowers that when placed alongside the real thing, they are more successful at attracting pollinators than the flowers themselves--probably because they not only appear to be flowers, but also because they give off chemical cues that mimic flowers.

A couple interesting papers:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25483791
http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/673858?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
Fantastic post. I'm lucky enough to have a young female at the moment. I think she's L4. Can't wait for her to shed so I can get some pics.
 

Ranitomeya

Arachnoknight
Joined
Oct 11, 2012
Messages
250
Fantastic post. I'm lucky enough to have a young female at the moment. I think she's L4. Can't wait for her to shed so I can get some pics.
They're easy to sex at L3 if you look for the presence of a cleft on the subgenital plate that is only present in females. You can also check at L2, but at that size it's not as pronounced and much more difficult to see without the aid in the form of good lighting and magnification.
 

Toxoderidae

Arachnoprince
Joined
Nov 16, 2015
Messages
1,010
I had a male for about a year and thought he was huge! Dude traveled from one side of the country to the other, even got to walk on a beach in Florida. I miss him.
 

Ranitomeya

Arachnoknight
Joined
Oct 11, 2012
Messages
250
I had a male for about a year and thought he was huge! Dude traveled from one side of the country to the other, even got to walk on a beach in Florida. I miss him.
Males mature at an inch or just over an inch from head to the end of the wings while females mature at about two and a half inches from head to the end of the wings. Are you sure you didn't have a female?

Males mature after about a month or two and then only survive maybe three months after that if you're lucky. When I kept the females very well-fed at all times and in warm conditions, they matured a little after two months and went on to live for almost six months before they died. Of course, you can slow them down by keeping them cooler and starving them to delay their development in order to keep them alive longer. You could get a female to survive for a year by delaying their development as a nymph, but males mature much too quickly and die much faster after maturing.
 

Toxoderidae

Arachnoprince
Joined
Nov 16, 2015
Messages
1,010
Males mature at an inch or just over an inch from head to the end of the wings while females mature at about two and a half inches from head to the end of the wings. Are you sure you didn't have a female?

Males mature after about a month or two and then only survive maybe three months after that if you're lucky. When I kept the females very well-fed at all times and in warm conditions, they matured a little after two months and went on to live for almost six months before they died. Of course, you can slow them down by keeping them cooler and starving them to delay their development in order to keep them alive longer. You could get a female to survive for a year by delaying their development as a nymph, but males mature much too quickly and die much faster after maturing.
Certainly a male, just had been keeping smaller flower mantids mainly at the time, so he seemed huge for me, I've never seen a female orchid with those bronze colors males have.
 

Ranitomeya

Arachnoknight
Joined
Oct 11, 2012
Messages
250
Certainly a male, just had been keeping smaller flower mantids mainly at the time, so he seemed huge for me, I've never seen a female orchid with those bronze colors males have.
Ah, they are a bit bigger when compared to some of the other male flower mantises such as those in the genus Creobroter, if you kept those.
It's pretty amazing that you got a male to live that long. They're usually very short-lived.
 

Toxoderidae

Arachnoprince
Joined
Nov 16, 2015
Messages
1,010
Ah, they are a bit bigger when compared to some of the other male flower mantises such as those in the genus Creobroter, if you kept those.
It's pretty amazing that you got a male to live that long. They're usually very short-lived.
I got him in the middle of winter and kept him in colder temps within my room, believed that's what caused it, since I had some spring Hymenopus who he outlived.
 

Quixtar

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Sep 22, 2007
Messages
513
Fascinating species. I didn't know about the chemical cues!
 
Top