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Bush Tiger Mantis Spotted in Rwanda

May 21 2014, 9:20am CDT | by , in News | Other Stuff

Bush Tiger Mantis Spotted in Rwanda
Credit: Gavin Svenson via ScienceDaily
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A student in Rwanda had spotted or rather discovered a species of insect termed the Bush Tiger Mantis.

Riley Tedrow, a student in Rwanda, used a light device in order to trap insects. One of his finds was the Bush Tiger Mantis. This is a kissing cousin of the praying mantis. And it also happened to be a novel form of the species. 

"It took eight months to identify all the species," said Tedrow, an evolutionary biology major.

The student was a part of a research team that had ventured into the thick undergrowth of the lush green jungles of the African nation. No previous records of people finding praying mantises in the forest are extant. 

The new mantis found has been labeled Dystacta tigrifrutex. The female of the species is indeed deadlier than the male since she hunts in the undergrowth and at ground level. 

The male is a flying insect though. The female that was discovered laid an egg cocoon in the trap soon after she was captured. Shortly, the nymphs started emerging from the brood hatch. 

A plethora of species were among the life forms that were hauled in. The procedure was followed last year too and it took over eight months to identify each and every type of flora and fauna. 

This time around the records were sifted through and no such example of a mantis was found. It seems this species is indeed a new addition to the past supply. 

It is indeed a unique insect that preys on other insects. The praying mantis, its cousin, is known to eat cockroaches after dismembering them piece by piece with its razor sharp front limbs. 

The praying mantis is called by this name due to the shape of its forelimbs which almost make it seem as if it is engaged in supplication. 

Several up-to-date facts about the Bush Tiger Mantis are yet to be unearthed after further in-depth research. Until then the species remains a welcome addition to the backlog of insects and its habits and habitat will be a mystery.    

"Dystacta alticeps, the sister species, is spread all over Africa," said Svenson, curator of invertebrate zoology at the museum and an adjunct professor at Case Western Reserve.

"The new praying mantis species was found in the high altitude rain forest region of southwestern Rwanda and probably only lives within Nyungwe National Park, which adds significant justification for protecting the park to ensure species like this can continue to exist."

Source: ScienceDaily

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