Camouflaged against the stones and gravel, desert mantises (Eremiaphila spp.) are so cryptic that they are difficult to spot unless they are moving.
They are well-adapted to arid habitats, and there are 31 different Eremiaphila species recorded in Egypt.
Desert mantises are voracious ambush predators, waiting patiently until their prey is spotted and then pursuing their victims quickly and grasping them with their spiked forelegs. Because their hunting relies heavily on vision, desert mantises are diurnal, or active during the day. They are very flexible, able to move their heads without moving their whole bodies, allowing a large field of vision.
Although flightless, adult desert mantises have small wings, as seen in the magnified inset below.
Have you spotted desert mantises on your wadi wanderings?