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Photograph Size: A2 Size (42.0 x 59.4 cm)
Material: Photo Rag Paper

The dragon mantis (Toxodera beieri) of Malaysia is said to get its rather fascinating name from its resemblance to mythical Chinese dragons. It is more commonly known in this region as the feather mantis or the stick mantis because of its long, leaf-like appendages. The feather mantis is an expert at leaf camouflage and is difficult to spot because it manages to stay hidden by keeping absolutely still while waiting for prey. It can also cleverly imitate the natural movement of vegetation fluttering in the breeze.

In general, praying mantises have large appetites and help humans by clearing out moths, roaches, flies and aphids (and occasionally even small rodents) from farms and gardens. In Malaysia, they are found in forests situated at a slight elevation, such as Penang Hill, Fraser Hill and Cameron Highlands.

They have weak and skinny limbs that make it difficult to walk upright on its legs, and so it moves slowly by hanging upside down under tree branches. This image from Penang Hill has been flipped upside down to clearly show its dragon-like appearance. This dragon mantis is one of the rarest subspecies of praying mantis around the world.

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