Praying Mantids
Black Bark Mantid 
Brown Bark Mantid
Brown-legged Bark Mantid 
Spiny Bark Mantid
Garden Praying Mantid
Black Groung Mantid
Tree-running Mantid 
False Garden Mantid
Purplewinged Mantid
Large Brown Mantid
Burying Mantid 
Other Mantids 


Black Bark Mantid - Paraoxypilus tasmaniensis

Family Amorphoscelidae

This page contains pictures and information about Black Bark Mantids that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.
Female, body length 20mm
The male and female of Boxer Bark Mantid species Paraoxypilus are remarkably dissimilar to each other. The male is winged, slender and a little longer in body length. They have the cryptic colours and hard to be seen on bark. They colour patterns may be different for individual. 
This bark mantid species was always found hunting on the rough bark gum tree trunk. They are usually not moving, but runs very fast when disturbed.


Black Boxer Bark Mantid females are coal-black in colour with black and white banded legs. The antenna are relatively short. 
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The female Black Boxer Bark Mantids are wingless (male is winged and with slender body, see below). They have long legs. They held their front pair of legs in praying display as most other praying mantids. 
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On mid summer, in White Hill on a Gum tree trunk, about two meter from the ground, we found this black Bark Mantid. It was stand still, hardly be noticed, waiting for prey there. After we took some photos, it noticed us and quickly ran up and disappear.
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Black Boxer Bark Mantids are quite common on large tree trunks in eucalyptus forests in Brisbane. However, they are hardly be noticed for they are well camouflaged. 
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Like most other praying mantids, they also have colour patches on their inner forelegs. Black Boxer Bark Mantids have  pinkly-red patches on inter forelegs. It is believed this is a territorial display to space out individuals of the same species.


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Male body length 20mm 
Males are fully winged and with slender body. They have longer antenna than the females.
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We found this male Boxer Bark Mantid in Alexandra Hill bushland early September 2006, when it was hunting on the ground. When we spotted it, it freeze, tried to avoid being seen by bending into the background. When we move very close, about 5cm, it quickly ran and hided the fallen leaves.


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Nymph, body length 15mm
Nymph look exactly the same as the female except smaller. The above picture was taken in Karawatha Forest in mid summer. It was running up and down on large tree trunk.
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Nymph, body length 6mm
We found this very small nymph on the base of a tree trunk. Next to it was a rotten oothecae (egg case) which the small mantid might come out from there. We thought it was a small black ant when first saw it.

Reference and links:
1. Insects of Australia, CSIRO, Division of Entomology, Melbourne University Press, 2nd Edition 1991, p 353-354.
2. Insects of Australia and New Zealand - R. J. Tillyard, Angus & Robertson, Ltd, Sydney, 1926, p93.
3. Insects of Australia - Hangay, George, & German, Pavel, Reed New Holland, Sydney, 2000. p41.
4. Wildlife of Greater Brisbane - Published by Queensland Museum 1995, p72.

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Last updated: April 29, 2010.