An observation on the ecology and behaviour of Metallyticus splendidus on a dead dipterocarp tree in Sabah, Malaysia (Mantodea, Metallyticidae)
Keywords:Mantodea, mantis, Metallyticus, rainforest, ecology
Metallyticus is a genus of rare mantids, occurring mostly in SouthEast Asia. Five species have been described. However, their ecology and behaviour remain virtually unknown. In this study, we describe a small population of Metallyticus splendidus Westwood, 1889 on a dead dipterocarp tree standing in disturbed tropical rainforest around Danau Girang Field Centre, Sabah, Malaysia. At dawn, in the afternoon and at night, four individuals, two adults and two nymphs, were monitored. Our findings confirm earlier behavioural observations: they hold their bodies flat when running. We did not observe any lurking behaviour: the mantids were walking fast across the tree stem and in tree holes. M. splendidus was found at dawn, in the afternoon, and at night only on this single dead tree in a plot of 50 X 50 m. This suggests that M. splendidus is day and night-active and that its habitat is restricted to dead standing trees. We failed to find other individuals on other dead as well as living trees. Our findings show that the habitat of M. splendidus could be restricted to large dead trees, giving novel insights into the ecology of Metallyticidae.