In this series, we take a look at pests that you might spot and then find yourself in a tizz- scavenging for information on the web trying to discover what they are. This time we will be looking at several jaw-dropping pests that look like something out of a fantasy movie.
Rainbow Shield Bug
The first thing you’ll notice about the rainbow shield bug is the striking plate-like shield protecting its body. It’s mesmerizing metallic, iridescent sheen changes it’s hue with the changing direction of light, going from green to blue - while some even have a yellow tint.
They are around 14mm long and are often found in Southern Africa around semi-arid bushvelds. They feed on Jatropha plants (plants used to produce bio-fuel), sunflowers, tobacco, and sorghum and as such are considered to be pests by farmers.
Kirby’s dropwing is also known as the scarlet rock glider, or the orange-winged dropwing. You can be forgiven for thinking that it’s something from the movie Avatar with it’s striking colour. This scarlet dragonfly’s abdomen measures between 21 to 24 mm long with hind wings that stretch between 26 to 30 mm.
They can be found around subtropical or tropical streams and rivers all over Africa. They like breeding in ponds and lakes, often spotted perched on rocks and boulders in riverbeds.
Devil’s Flower Mantis
Known as one of the largest praying mantis species, the Devil’s Flower Mantis beautifully impersonates leaves and flowers, remaining motionless when stalking prey in a bid to seduce insects before striking. Its wings parade a combination of vibrant colours in a deimatic display which it uses to distract it’s predators when being attacked.
It’s beauty and dramatic performance would even give Meryl Streep a run for her money! Because of this, it is considered an esteemed pet by enthusiasts and as such thousands are purchased yearly by those seduced by its charms. Females grow to about 13cm in length while the males grow to about 10cm. They can be found in Kenya, Ethiopia and Malawi.
These exotic pests may leave you gobsmacked by their striking looks, but hopefully, you’ll be able to remember a few useful facts about them for your next pub quiz.