Scientific name Acanthops
|Lower classifications Acanthops falcata, Acanthops falcataria, Acanthops royi, Acanthops centralis|
Acanthops is a genus in the subfamily Acanthopinae of the family Acanthopidae, containing 20 species that can be found in Central and South America.
Most species in Acanthops are colloquially referred to as the Dead Leaf Mantis, a common name also used for species in several other mantid genera. The genus name translates from the greek nouns ἄκανθα and ὅψ as "thorn eye", referring to the presence in all Acanthops species of a shorter or longer conical tubercle on top of each eye. Note that such ocular tubercles also occur in various other mantid genera.
Acanthops species have an unusual degree of sexual dimorphism compared to other mantids. The flightless female resembles a curled dead leaf folded back on itself, and weighs twice as much as the males do. It has reduced wings that can be raised to reveal bright warning colors on the abdomen. The male has long functional wings that resemble a flat or rolled-up dead leaf at rest. When perched, males often assume a posture where the head, grasping legs and prothorax add to the camouflage effect by recreating the appearance of a dead leaf's shriveled petiole and stipules.
The following species are currently considered valid: