Having spent some time collecting praying mantises at the Daintree Rainforest Observatory, I wanted to compile a short list of the praying mantis taxa that Orthopterist David Rentz and I have collected on the property. Unfortunately, I was not able to capture live habitus shots for Orthodera or Metoxypilus.
Ciulfina sp. can be found on small to medium sized tree trunks with relatively smooth bark. They are fast runners with impressive visual acuity; generally one specimen per tree.
Hierodula majuscula, commonly called the “hooded horror,” is a large bodied rainforest mantis. Members of this species can often be found hanging underneath sturdy, broadleaf vegetation. Spot-lighting and light-trapping techniques will often yield a male specimen or two. Females, especially when gravid, are generally found in ground level broad-leaf vegetation, being too heavy to effectively fly.
The purple-winged Tenodera australasiae can be found by sweeping ground level vegetation, including grasses and the introduced Signapore Daisy (Sphagneticola trilobata). It is possible to collect males of this species via light trapping.
One of my favorite mantis species, the net-winged Neomantis australis can be collected by sweeping ground level broad-leaf vegetation such as S. trilobata or the climbing bell vine. It is easiest to collect adults of this taxa in the early morning or late evening (~7am/ ~7pm). These mantises are exceptional fliers and can be a challenge to keep in your net. Light trapping techniques should yield both males and females.
Collecting methods of Kongobatha diademata, the snake mantis, are essentially the same as N. australis.
Metoxypilus sp. can be collected by checking the bark of tree trunks and leaf litter. These mantises possess high visual acuity and are extremely active.
The garden mantis Orthodera sp. can be collected by sweeping grasses and other vegetation Light trapping techniques might yield specimens as well.