- Family: Mantidae
- Scientific: Sphodromantis viridis (Forskal, 1775)
- English: African mantis
- Spanish: Mantis africana
The African Mantis – Sphodromantis viridis – Mantis africana can be either green or brown despite its scientific name (viridis meaning green). The female can grow to 8cm while the male is smaller.
The female may lay the oothecas soon after mating, or after a delay of a few days and she can produce several of these foam encrusted egg cases in the late summer or autumn.
At first the foam is pliable and at this point it is sticky so can be moulded to the chosen site. It quickly dries to give protection to the eggs which will remain inside through the winter, only emerging in warmer spring temperatures. Even after the tiny mantis have hatched out and dispersed in the spring, the ootheca remains strong. In this image it is firmly attached to a twig.
Their ootheca can contain up to 300 eggs and they generally prefer to deposit them in higher reaches than the common Praying Mantis. As with other species of mantis in Europe, after breeding and egg laying the adults usually die during the winter.
More general information and images of Mantises and a list of the species in Iberia can be found here: https://wildsideholidays.co.uk/mantis-in-iberia/
This is a female (note her large abdomen), she will soon search for a safe place to lay eggs. Although she has wings at this size she is too cumbersome to take off and so will walk or jump instead.
Notice on the images that the African mantis (Sphodromantis viridis) has a lemon colouring on the inner foreleg and lacks the black eyespot and white dots of the common European Praying Mantis.
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