The Flower Mantis of Singapore

3 March 2012

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.

Banded Flower Mantis (Theopropus elegans) - DSC_3531#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.

Banded Flower Mantis (Theopropus elegans) - DSC_3532#2 It tried to curl itself up to break the outline of it’s body

Banded Flower Mantis (Theopropus elegans) - DSC_3539#3 Just had to try some back-lighting… lol

Banded Flower Mantis (Theopropus elegans) - DSC_3546#4 It managed to climb back onto the plants, but spent more time exploring around this time, refusing to stop.

Banded Flower Mantis (Theopropus elegans) - DSC_3558#5 As with many other mantids, it had the habit of polishing it’s “teeth”

Banded Flower Mantis (Theopropus elegans) - DSC_3561#6 Ready to make a jump again!

Banded Flower Mantis (Theopropus elegans) - DSC_3566#7 Landed on another leaf, so I continued shooting

Banded Flower Mantis (Theopropus elegans) - DSC_3575#8 This flower mantis has very nice white bands on it’s body with what looked like layers of appendages on it’s abdomen

Banded Flower Mantis (Theopropus elegans) - DSC_3576#9 Face to face. Very beautiful and colourful fore legs

Banded Flower Mantis (Theopropus elegans) - DSC_3579#10 Doing some tai chi

Banded Flower Mantis (Theopropus elegans) - DSC_3604#11 Victor was standing behind, so we managed to get this alternative background. 😛

Banded Flower Mantis (Theopropus elegans) - DSC_3606#12 Really lovely creature, one of the most beautiful praying mantises

Banded Flower Mantis (Theopropus elegans) - DSC_3616#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

Praying Mantis nymph (Mantodea) - DSC_5373#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.

Fishing Spider (Nilus sp.) - DSC_3293#15 Typical fishing spider, acting like a star fish

Fishing Spider (Hygropoda sp.) - DSC_3303#16 This had a few legs tapping the surface of the water, awaiting prey

Huntsman Spider (Sparassidae) - DSC_3307#17 A huntsman came climbing up to us while we leaned down on the ground… arghh!!

Fishing Spider (Nilus sp.) - DSC_3318#18 This was particular larger, at around 2 inches including legs.

Fishing Spider (Hygropoda sp.) - DSC_3326#19 Most had their hind legs clinging onto a branch, with the rest of the legs on the water surface

Fishing Spider (Hygropoda  sp.) - DSC_3340#20 This one had already found supper and contentedly devouring it on a leaf

Fishing Spider (Nilus sp.) - DSC_3342#21 Others just had to wait slowly…

Fishing Spider (Nilus sp.) - DSC_3352#22 Slightly closer shot. Difficult for my long lens as my flash was almost touching the water already

Fishing Spider (Nilus sp.) - DSC_3361#23 This one had captured a pond skater!

Gold-ringed Cat Snake (Boiga dendrophila) - DSC_3357#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.

Gold-ringed Cat Snake (Boiga dendrophila) - DSC_3365#25 We lifted the snake a little out of the water, and got a closer shot of the 2 fatties

Katydid? attacked by mites - DSC_3375#26 Found a katydid with lots of mites

Katydid fresh out of moult (Tettigoniidae) - DSC_3379#27 While another Katydid was emerging from a fresh molt

Wolf Spider (Lycosidae) - DSC_3406#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.

Wolf Spider (Lycosidae) - DSC_3427#29 Close up on the spiderlings

Wolf Spider (Lycosidae) - DSC_3473#30 All of them would cling onto the mother’s abdomen until they are big enough to venture on their own

Wolf Spider (Lycosidae) - DSC_3500b#31 Side view shows that they cling all over the abdomen – even the bottom!

Wolf Spider (Lycosidae) - DSC_3627#32 On venturing around, we found this Wolf Spider busy spinning a new egg sac!

Wolf Spider (Lycosidae) - DSC_3635#33 It was like making roti prata (Indian pancake) and quite an interesting sight.

Wolf Spider (Lycosidae) - DSC_3654#34 Finally, a new mama! Babies were emerging from the egg sac slowly and doing the same clinging on the abdomen

Wolf Spider (Lycosidae) - DSC_3659#35 Slightly different angle of the wonderful sight

The complete album can be viewed here.

  1. Reply

    Daddy Bear

    11 May 2012

    Amazing stuff. I really enjoyed reading that. Thanks for sharing, Nicky! Was the snake poisonous? If so, you guys are helluva brace! LOL. Also love the prata making shots!

  2. Reply

    Nicky Bay

    11 May 2012

    Thanks boss! Yes venomous, can cause painful swelling in humans. Just to be safe, every snake we see is assumed to be poisonous.

    No we didn't use our hands to grab the snake of course… 😛 A certain distance was kept while we always had a pair of eyes monitoring the head of the snake.

  3. Reply


    11 May 2012

    Hi Nicky: This is awesome! I noticed that Wikipedia's article about flower mantids isn't illustrated — would you be interested in donating one of your flower mantis photos to Wikipedia? You'd have to release it under the CC-BY ( or CC-BY-SA ( license. If you're interested, here's a list of questions you might have about Creative Commons licenses: — I hope you'll consider this! Please contact me if I can help in any way –>



Hi my name is Nicky Bay. I am a macro photographer, instructor and book author, travelling the world to document the vast micro biodiversity that nature has to offer. Follow my updates and discover with me the incredible beauty and science behind our planet's micro creatures!

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