New Species of Praying Mantis Impales Its Prey on Barbed Spikes

Good News Notes:

“Mantises are elite ambush predators, snatching their victims with a lightning-fast strike of their front limbs. But one newly described species doesn’t just hold its prey in a prickly embrace: It impales it, using long, barbed tines to expertly polish off the squirming morsel like a chunk of bread skewered on a fondue fork.

The new mantis hails from the highland tropical rainforest of central Peru, where the species has undoubtedly lived for eons. But it’s just in recent years that Julio Rivera, an entomologist at Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola in Lima, has been studying the insects up-close. Having first come across a male of the species roughly two decades ago, Rivera eventually acquired a live female and began rearing the miniature hunters in his lab, offering them kokedama plants as habitats.

Careful examination of the mantises’ physical features suggested that this species was distinct from its close relatives. Rivera and a colleague introduced the creature—Carrikerella simpira—to science for the first time in a paper published last month in the journal Neotropical Entomology.

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