Iris oratoria

Iris oratoria
Iris oratoria
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Mantodea
Family: Mantidae
Subfamily: Mantinae
Tribe: Miomantini
Genus: Iris
Species: I. oratoria
Binomial name
Iris oratoria
(Linnaeus, 1758)

Iris oratoria, also known by the common name Mediterranean Mantis or (less frequently) Iris mantis, is a very widespread species of praying mantis native to Europe and now found as an introduced species in the Middle East, Western Asia and the United States.[1][2] [3][4]



I. oratoria is very pale when young but matures to a mostly green color and grows to about 6.5 cm long. This species may be distinguished from Mantis religiosa and other mantids with which it shares a range and general size and shape by a very distinguishing red-orange spot on its ventral side on the fourth (second to last) abdominal segment; cerci are shorter than those of M. religiosa as well.[3][5][6] This species is also distinctive in possessing two large violet-brown eyespots on its hind wings which are revealed when its wings are unfolded. Females have wings shorter than the abdomen.[3][6][7]


Two novel (and only recently documented) I. oratoria survival strategies may be contributing to the expansion of this species beyond its original range and its success in areas formerly occupied by other mantids such as Stagmomantis carolina.

First, this species is capable of parthenogenic reproduction when males are scarce. Second, additional I. oratoria nymphs may emerge from their oothecae in the second season after the egg case is produced, i.e., when their siblings are already grown and having their own offspring.[8][9]

The sexual cannibalism of mantids often referred to in popular culture occurs in roughly one quarter of all intersexual encounters of I. oratoria.[1][10]

See also


  1. ^ a b [1] Sexual cannibalism, mate choice, and sperm competition in praying mantids
  2. ^ [2] California Department of Food and Agriculture
  3. ^ a b c [3] Bugs in Cyberspace
  4. ^ [4] Israel Insect World
  5. ^ [5] Animal Junction
  6. ^ a b [6] D. Oliveira, Mantid Genera Key
  7. ^ The I. oratoria in the above picture has its wings partially extended, giving a wrong impression of its body shape and making it look perhaps as robust as Tenodera aridifolia sinensis. It is, however, more slender and more akin to Mantis religiosa in its adult girth.
  8. ^ [7][8] University of Southern California
  9. ^ "Range Expansion of an Introduced Mantid Iris oratoria and Niche Overlap with a Native Mantid Stagmomantis limbata (Mantodea: Mantidae)" by Michael R. Maxwell and Ofer Eitan, Annals of the Entomological Society of America Volume 91 Number 4, July 1998
  10. ^ Crump, Marty. Headless Males Make Great Lovers & Other Unusual Natural Histories, with illustrations by Alan Crump, University of Chicago Press, 2005, ISBN: 0-226-12199-2

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