Praying Mantids
Stick Insects
Tessellated Phasmatid
Titan Stick Insect


Boxer Bark Mantid I - Paraoxypilus sp.

Family Amorphoscelidae

This page contains pictures and information about Boxer 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 markedly 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. 
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The Boxer Bark Mantids that we found are wingless, so they should be females (male is winged and with slender body, see below). They have long legs and holding their front pair of legs in 'boxing' display as most other praying mantids. 
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Like some other praying mantids, they also have colour patches on their inner forelegs. The Boxer Bark Mantids have  the orange ones. It is believed this is a territorial display to space out individuals of the same species.
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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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This mantid shows her pinkly-red patches on inter forelegs.
They can be found hunting on the rough bark gum tree trunk. They are usually not moving, but runs very fast when disturbed.

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Male body length 20mm 
We found this male Boxer Bark Mantid in Alexandra Hill bushland early September, when it was hunting on the ground. When we spotted it, it freeze, try to avoid being seen by bending into the background. When we move very close, about 5cm, it quickly ran into the fallen leaves.
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The male is winged and with slender body 
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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: February 15, 2009.