The Flower Mantis of Singapore
The flower mantis is rarely seen in Singapore. Many have even questioned whether they existed in this little island. There had been scattered findings in places like Venus Drive over the past few years, but it remained a tiny few. It was by sheer luck that we found this juvenile in the central catchment area, and a beauty it is indeed.
#1 When I got to it, the Banded Flower Mantis (Theopropus elegans?) had already taken a dive to the ground. Fortunately for us, it wasn’t too good at camouflaging itself on brown leaves.
#2 It tried to curl itself up to break the outline of it’s body
#3 Just had to try some back-lighting… lol
#4 It managed to climb back onto the plants, but spent more time exploring around this time, refusing to stop.
#5 As with many other mantids, it had the habit of polishing it’s “teeth”
#6 Ready to make a jump again!
#7 Landed on another leaf, so I continued shooting
#8 This flower mantis has very nice white bands on it’s body with what looked like layers of appendages on it’s abdomen
#9 Face to face. Very beautiful and colourful fore legs
#10 Doing some tai chi
#11 Victor was standing behind, so we managed to get this alternative background. 😛
#12 Really lovely creature, one of the most beautiful praying mantises
#13 Final shot before we left it alone. Truly a rare encounter, as we went back to the same spot several times after with no luck in finding it again
#14 While we’re talking about the flower mantis, we suspected that this juvenile that we found in Venus Drive earlier could be of the same species as well. Just a wild guess, based on an article authored by TM Leong and SC Teo.
In this trip, we ventured nearer to the water to find some fishing spiders. They were in abundance, gliding over the water surface like water striders, but more frequently found resting on little branches near the water surface.
#15 Typical fishing spider, acting like a star fish
#16 This had a few legs tapping the surface of the water, awaiting prey
#17 A huntsman came climbing up to us while we leaned down on the ground… arghh!!
#18 This was particular larger, at around 2 inches including legs.
#19 Most had their hind legs clinging onto a branch, with the rest of the legs on the water surface
#20 This one had already found supper and contentedly devouring it on a leaf
#21 Others just had to wait slowly…
#22 Slightly closer shot. Difficult for my long lens as my flash was almost touching the water already
#23 This one had captured a pond skater!
#24 While rummaging through the water, a large snake was found. Probably Gold-ringed Cat Snake (Boiga dendrophila)? Very roughly estimated it to be at around 2 meters long (we couldn’t see the whole body so couldn’t be sure). This shot shows 2 giant ticks having a hearty feast underwater.
#25 We lifted the snake a little out of the water, and got a closer shot of the 2 fatties
#26 Found a katydid with lots of mites
#27 While another Katydid was emerging from a fresh molt
#28 We also found many wolf spiders in the bushes. Some had newborns clinging onto the mother’s back. A salute to the mother for this, despite having already lost 2 legs.
#29 Close up on the spiderlings
#30 All of them would cling onto the mother’s abdomen until they are big enough to venture on their own
#31 Side view shows that they cling all over the abdomen – even the bottom!
#32 On venturing around, we found this Wolf Spider busy spinning a new egg sac!
#33 It was like making roti prata (Indian pancake) and quite an interesting sight.
#34 Finally, a new mama! Babies were emerging from the egg sac slowly and doing the same clinging on the abdomen
#35 Slightly different angle of the wonderful sight
The complete album can be viewed here.