Bee-ware: That's No Flower!

Photograph by Dr. James O'Hanlon, Macquarie University

Scientists believe the body of the orchid mantis may resemble an average Malaysian flower, attracting pollinating insects as prey.

You’ve probably heard of flowers that eat insects, such as the venus fly trap. How about an insect that looks like a flower?


Scientists James O’Hanlon and Marie Herberstein went to Malaysia and observed that the flower-impersonating orchid mantis actually attracted more insects than the real flowers. Studying the mantis for hours on end resulted in a rare treat.


“The big payoff to this was watching the lightning-fast swipe of the orchid mantis as it snatched a bee out of midair,” says O’Hanlon.

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