An Early Praying Mantis Fossil Proves To Be Quite Revealing
As far as the hostile world of insects is concerned, the praying mantis is particularly fierce. Of course, we all know female praying mantises to be deadly after mating, but praying mantises are feared by most insects on account of their size and predatory habits. Praying mantises posess oversized arms that are capable of ripping their prey apart, without giving their prey so much as a slight chance of survival. These “arms” are located near the top of the mantis’ thorax, and they are lined with menacing looking spines. There is a surprising lack of fossil evidence demonstrating the early development of these enormous spine-riddled appendages. However, a recently discovered fossil has shed some light on what mantises looked like before achieving their intimidating modern look.
Mantis fossils have revealed that these insects existed as far back as one hundred and ninety nine million years ago, during the jurassic era. However, it was not until around one hundred and forty five million years ago that mantises began to diversify, and take on new features. Unfortunately, fossil records do not reveal much about the manner in which mantises evolved, until recently that is.
A mantis existing one hundred and ten million years ago has been excavated from a fossil site in Brazil. The mantis was determined to be a member of the Santanmantis axelrodi species. This fossilized mantis was in particularly good condition. The entirety of the ancient mantis’ thorax, as well as its head and wings, were well preserved. Two pairs of legs were also observed folded behind the mantis’ head. The interesting part, however, had to do with another pair of obscured legs. The mantis’ lower legs were outfitted with spines, which was a feature that had not been observed before in mantises from this same species.
Do you think its unfair that only mantises get blamed for devouring their male mates after mating?