The Tiny Boxer Mantis

24 April 2011
Encountered my first Boxer Mantis (Otomantis sp.) today! This tiny little fella was less than 1cm in length with the abdomen curled back at an acute angle, sometimes to the extent of touching it’s own head!

When I first spotted it, I thought that it was a tiger beetle, as it ran about in little spurts. It was only after peering through the lens that it’s identity was confirmed (yes… that small). When it was not doing it’s march, it would be practicing it’s “punches”, alternating between extending either “arms”. An absolute delight to observe!

Boxer Mantis (Otomantis sp.?) - DSC_6427#1 First sighted trudged into the moss on the rocks

Boxer Mantis (Otomantis sp.?) - DSC_6447#2 The super arched abdomen gives it a somewhat majestic pose

Boxer Mantis (Otomantis sp.?) - DSC_6456#3 It was also waving it’s body to and fro, really restless!

Boxer Mantis (Otomantis sp.?) - DSC_6481#4 All ready for a punchout

Boxer Mantis (Otomantis sp.?) - DSC_6508#5 And it begins! Non-stop punching as it looked up at me

Boxer Mantis (Otomantis sp.?) - DSC_6549#6 For a moment… they really resembled crab claws!

Boxer Mantis (Otomantis sp.?) - DSC_6565#7 Animation of the 1-2 punching action

Boxer Mantis (Otomantis sp.?) - DSC_6569#8 And the side jab

Boxer Mantis (Otomantis sp.?) - DSC_6537#9 Can’t get enough of the side view

Boxer Mantis (Otomantis sp.?) - DSC_6520#10 A shy portrait

Boxer Mantis (Otomantis sp.?) - DSC_6595#11 Final punch!

Spent a lot of time observing this boxer mantis, so just a few other subjects to share from this trip. 🙂

Mantis (Mantodea) - DSC_6411#12 A more common praying mantis devouring a prey. Easily over 5 times the length of the boxer mantis.

Tiger Beetle (Cicindelinae) - DSC_6399#13 Beautiful turquoise coloured tiger beetle running on the same row of rocks

The following shots are of the larva (caterpillar) of the Day Flying Moth (Pompelon marginata). Thanks to Horace from Butterfly Circle for the ID. Read on for the interesting defence mechanism of this caterpillar!

Day Flying Moth larva - DSC_6675#14 The caterpillar is lumpy, about an inch long and of a very smooth and clean cream colour

Day Flying Moth larva - DSC_6702#15 That’s how it looks from above

Day Flying Moth larva - DSC_6714#16 It got very active after some shooting, and started crawling all over the place, onto the trunk of a tree! Notice the 2 little blobs of liquid at the tip? More info in the next picture…

Day Flying Moth larva - DSC_6717#17 It didn’t stop moving, so I tried giving it a soft blow to simulate some wind, as many insects tend to stop for a while when they experience sudden wind. Immediately after sensing the wind, this cute little fella contracted, and squeezed out little droplets of liquid from each of it’s spikes! The little liquid droplets lasted for less than 5 seconds before drying up (or maybe it just got sucked back in) so I only had a single blur record shot of this phenomenon. Still, it was a beautiful yet surprising sight!

Just a side note, that the Day Flying Moth is known to secrete liquids as forms of defence – it would be wise not to assume that the liquid droplets are simply H2O.

The complete album can be viewed here.
  1. Reply

    Daddy Bear

    27 April 2011

    Great post, Nicky! I like the pic of the caterpillar secreting juice the best! 🙂

  2. Reply

    Nicky Bay

    27 April 2011

    Thanks Adrian, really a bizarre sight not to be missed!

  3. Reply


    28 April 2011

    That's a very interesting looking mantis! 🙂



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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