A mantis nymph on Yarrow flowers eating an ant, Camponotus fulvopilosus, in our garden at Jansenville in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.
’n Hottentotsgot nimf vreet aan ’n balbyter-mier op die duisendblad in ons tuin.
Mantodea (or mantises, mantes) is an order of insects that contains over 2,400 valid species and about 430 genera in 15 families worldwide in temperate and tropical habitats. Most of the species are in the family Mantidae.
Mantises go through three stages of metamorphosis: egg, nymph, and adult. The nymph and adult insect are structurally quite similar, except that the nymph is smaller and has no wings or functional genitalia. The nymphs are also sometimes colored differently from the adult, and the early stages are often mimics of ants.
A mantis nymph increases in size (often changing its diet as it does so) by replacing its outer body covering with a sturdy, flexible exoskeleton and molting when needed. Molting can happen from five to ten times, depending on the species. After the final molt most species have wings, though some species are wingless. (Wikipedia)
The ant is Camponotus fulvopilosus, with the common Afrikaans name of ‘balbyter’. Found in arid savanna and woodlands with sandy soil in the western and northern parts of South Africa.
Camera: CanonEOS 500D Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro Lens