Popped in to Te Papa over the weekend and took a wander through the Bug Lab exhibition. Created with the assistance of Weta Workshop, the show includes four ‘pods’ which you enter to find out more about a particular insect – jewel wasp (who makes a zombie out of a cockroach), Japanese honey bees (who work together to kill invading hornets), dragonfly in flight … and the orchid mantis.
Native to Malaysia, Hymenopus coronatus has evolved to look enough like an orchid (or a flower in general) that it fools passing food – at least that’s what we’ve thought for a long time. However, recent research (includes a short video of the mantis at work) has discovered that prey doesn’t think the mantis looks like a flower but is tricked by its pretty, flower-like colouring.
Read more about the mantis here, and see some great photos of real insects.
The Te Papa show runs until April 17 (entry charge) and will entrance big kids as well as little kids. It then moves to Melbourne and possibly further afield.