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Ghost Mantises' Incredible Leafy Camouflage Makes Them Both Adorable And Creepy

When someone says the word "mantis," most of us immediately picture a praying mantis. You know, the ones with the long, folded pincer arms and females with the unfortunate habit of decapitating their mates.

However, that's only one kind of mantis and it turns out that many other mantis species are pretty cool too — and far less murderous.

The ghost mantis, or *Phyllocrania paradoxa*, is particularly popular among people who enjoy keeping bugs as pets.

(Admittedly, I will never be one of those people, but fully support people who are.)

Tiny ghost mantises are special for their amazing camouflage.

They look just like crumpled leaves!

And yet, while being tiny and cute, they also have that slight creepy factor that's pretty much a requirement for any bug species.

Their natural habitat is found across the African continent and in Madagascar.

Though mostly in shades of brown to blend into fallen leaves, they can be found in shades of beige and green too.

Their coloring is determined by how humid the environment around them is. The damper the air, the greener they are. Which makes a lot of sense, since real leaves would dry out a lot slower in humid air.

Since ghost mantises are calm and not in the habit of cannibalism, it makes them even more common as pets, since more than one can be housed in a single terrarium.

As long as there is plenty of food provided to the tank, the mantises will all live peacefully together. This also allows for regular reproduction among the community, which is pretty cool from an amateur scientist, circle of life standpoint.

h/t:Keeping Insects