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Shield Mantis

Choerododis stalii


Also called the Leaf Mantis or Hooded Mantis, these Mantids are really cool. They have made a fine art out of mimicry looking so much like the surrounding greenery of the jungle in which they are found, that it is almost impossible to see them if they donโ€™t move. This one was nearly 3" (7.5 cm) long, dark green dorsally, lighter green ventrally including the 4 rear legs. The front legs were yellowish orange with a black spot on each of its femurs.


Found on the edge of the clearing behind our house in the Amazon rainforest of SE Ecuador (700 masl).


The first picture was an unexpected end to a spotting. I assumed I would eventually lose sight of it, but after following/chasing this Mantis around for a while, it evidently decided it had had enough. As I got just a little too close, it suddenly popped out from the tree trunk and assumed its most fearsome pose. You can almost see the biceps bulging as it strikes the traditional strong-man pose. It even had its mouth open, as if to say, โ€œYou want some of this?โ€ In fear and trembling I took my pictures and sneaked away ๐Ÿ˜Š

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26 Comments (1โ€“25)

Tukup a month ago

Thanks Maria. Please feel free to share.

Maria dB
Maria dB a month ago

What a cool mantis series! I haven't seen a mantis do anything at all similar before and what an interesting series! Could I share the first photo on my Facebook page or would you rather not have shares?

Tukup a month ago

Thanks Leuba. It remains my most unexpected wildlife pose.

Leuba Ridgway
Leuba Ridgway a month ago

Wow ! Never seen one of these before ( I mean pictures). Just fantastic and I love the threatening pose. So glad you got these lovely shots and thanks for sharing Tukup.

Tukup a month ago

Thanks Neil. I've seen a lot of mantids but never a display like this one. Very cool.

Neil Ross
Neil Ross a month ago

How did I miss this one? What an amazing creature! I think that tough posture would have scared me off too! Thanks for sharing this wonderful encounter, Tukup :)

Tukup a month ago

Thanks Watson5. In quarantine for Covid-19 with no internet so just seeing this. I saw today this was nominated for SOTW. I've never had one of those.

Watson5 2 months ago

Amazing pics as always Tukup! We really appreciated the camouflage ability this mantis has. We're glad you continued to "follow" the mantis to get that incredible ending shot!

Tukup 3 months ago

Thanks Zlatan. Karate Kid was my thought too. Everything but the AIIIIIII-YA!!

Zlatan Celebic
Zlatan Celebic 3 months ago

Karate Kid - Alien? Great series of pics and notes, Tukup, thanks for sharing. That first click is really exceptional in my eyes...

Tukup 3 months ago

Thanks sunnyjosh. A great opportunity for me.

Tukup 3 months ago

Thanks Mark. It did seem like it had run as far as it was going to.

sunnyjosef 3 months ago

Amazing picture.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 3 months ago

Amazing beastie and great series. It was certainly willing to take you on I think ha ha.

Tukup 3 months ago

I'm glad I kept my distance then ๐Ÿ˜Š. From the looks of the gut in Foto #2, I don't think it was starving. Thanks Jae.

Jae 3 months ago

:) Yeah most of the praying mantises I've seen were quite aware of their surrounding. Here is an interesting excerpt from an article on this subject I read the other day:
"The degree of responsiveness of a mantis to prey is dependent on its nutritional state. As starvation proceeds, a mantis will become aware of and stalk prey moving at greater distances from its body, will stalk more quickly and will strike at larger prey."

Tukup 3 months ago

Obrigado Sergio.

Tukup 3 months ago

Gracias Eulalia. It looked like it was right out of Karate Kid ๐Ÿ˜Š

Sergio Monteiro
Sergio Monteiro 3 months ago

Great one, Tukup. Congrats.

eulalia rubio
eulalia rubio 3 months ago

Fuiste muy valiente :)
Espectacular spotting. Enhorabuena.

Tukup 3 months ago

Thanks Mel. Normally I follow/chase insects in the jungle only to lose them before I can get a good shot. This spotting was really special.

Tukup 3 months ago

Thanks Sukanya. It reminded me of the pose the Brazilian Wandering Spider shows when threatened .

Mel11 3 months ago

That is an absolutely amazing spotting in all ways, Thank you so much for dedicated tracking and sharing Tulip.

SukanyaDatta 3 months ago

Loved your notes, Tukup. Spunky insect too! Not afraid to take on humans :)

Tukup 3 months ago

I was surprised at its quick move. Surprised and pleased that he/she held it for a long time. If I moved away it relaxed a little, if I came back it sprang back out. Really cool. Thanks Jae

Spotted by

Morona-Santiago, Ecuador

Spotted on Apr 14, 2020
Submitted on Apr 7, 2021

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