Luckily, the Devil’s Flower Mantis or Giant Devil’s Flower Mantis are native to Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Somalia, Tanzania, South Sudan and Uganda ─ far enough away from here! Females of the species are larger and can measure up to 5 inches (13 cm) long while males grow to 4 inches (10cm).
Both have developed a range of colours that mimic the Devil’s Flower, especially during threat display showing the full range of colours like red, white, blue, purple and black.
In the event of a threat, the Devil’s Flower Mantis initiates a deimatic (a Greek word that means “to frighten”) stance by raising its front legs in a “haarrgh!” pose with an evil face, much like Nosferatu, and exposes the vibrant patterns depicted on the bottom of the thorax and abdomen to good effect. The wings open too, to make itself larger than life, and shift from left to right to double the fright-factor.
Itself a predator, the Devil’s Flower Mantis gets its prey by impersonating an innocuous flower and remaining motionless until unsuspecting insects like flies, moths, butterflies and beetles and in some cases, even birds, come within striking distance. Then quick as a flash, it whips out its mighty forearms and grips its prey like a vice, preventing any attempts to getaway. Before the poor fellas can even say, “huh?”, the Devil’s Flower Mantis uses its powerful mandibles to decapitate the victim and proceed with lunch.