Iridescent bark mantis Metallyticus splendidus Westwood, 1835 of south Sarawak / Borneo

Mostly M. splendidus is found on dead trees, here it feeds mainly on cockroaches but also ants, termites and beetles are part of its diet. The movement of M. splendidus is also very similar to that of cockroaches, the mantids quickly run to safety when you get too close.

It stands taxonomically isolated within Mantodea, so that it is placed in its own family Metallyticidae. This, together with the genera Mantoidea and Chaeteessa, forms the “basal” mantis, which are distinguished from the other representatives of the order by numerous plesiomorphic features, most conspicuously by the short, non-elongated pronotum. The most probable phylogenetic position of the Metallyticidae is as a sister group to the “higher” mantis. This is indicated by studies of the male genital appendages and other morphological characters. Gene sequences or other molecular data are currently not available.