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Sphodromantis viridis is a species of praying mantis that is kept worldwide as a pet. Its common names include African mantis, giant African mantis, and bush mantis. S. viridis is native to West Africa south of the Sahara desert. It can also be found as an introduced species in areas outside its original range including Israel and Spain. Despite its scientific name (viridis is Latin for green) this insect ranges in color from bright green to dull brown. Females can reach 10 centimetres (3.9 in) in length. Due to the sexual dimorphism typical of mantises, the male is much smaller. Females may also be distinguished from males as they have six segmented abdomens compared to an eight segmented abdomens of the males. As adults, both sexes have a distinctive white spot on their wings. They have a yellowish color on their inner foreleg distinguishable from the black eyespot and white dots of the European mantis Mantis religiosa with whom it shares some range.
It was dinner time. Moths, wasps and mosquitoes had begun to fly about. Mantis was silently suspended in a space between two small branches of a tree praying for prey to pass. Instead something far bigger than the usual prey came by, with bright flourescent light. Curious, it tilted it's small triangular head to get a good view of the stranger. Stepping forward very slowly, it tried to familiarise. A sudden burst of air from the direction of the light hit it, and that was when in a blink of an eye it assumed this posture. "Uh uhn! this one's off the menu", it must have thought. It stood motionless until I left the scene.