Acanthops erosula (Peruvian Dead Leaf Mantis)

Acanthops is a genus in the subfamily Acanthopinae of the family Acanthopidae, containing 20 known species that can be found in Central and South America. Most species in Acanthops are colloquially referred to as the Dead Leaf Mantis, a common name also used for species in several other mantid genera.

Acanthops species have an unusual degree of sexual dimorphism compared to other mantids. The flightless female resembles a curled dead leaf folded back on itself, and weighs twice as much as the males do. It has reduced wings that can be raised to reveal bright warning colors on the abdomen. The male has long functional wings that resemble a flat or rolled-up dead leaf at rest. When perched, males often assume a posture where the head, grasping legs and prothorax add to the camouflage effect by recreating the appearance of a dead leaf’s shriveled petiole and stipules.

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