I have tried to identify this little fellow but to no avail! Has anyone got any ideas?
Well, if I am seeing your photo correctly, it is a praying mantis.
But there are a lot of genera and even more species - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mantis_genera_and_species
...So I wouldn't like to say which.
I'm not even sure which end is which so I'm not disagreeing with Mike, but I wonder if some sort of bush cricket (like Saga pedo) is another possibility. If the tail is the end furthest from the camera then I wonder if I can see a sickle like ovipositor. But I can only see 4 legs!
For me, it is the four legs that points me towards it being a mantid (the other two being involved in the praying business, hence somewhat arms rather than legs, if you know what I mean).
I recognize this creature, and I have seen several in recent weeks here in Cyprus.
But I have only just been able to identify it - Empusa pennata (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Empusa_pennata_side.jpg).
(The crest on the head points to Empusidae, and the feathery antennae indicate it is a male.)
Here's a photo I took last week of what I believe is the same species.
It's a male nymph of Empusa obviously, but pennata? I'm not sure about the distribution of the three european species. Here in Spain we only have E. pennata but in SE Europe are also present E. fasciata and E. pennicornis (almost identical externally). Would be a good idea to check what species are present in Cyprus.
Isidro - thanks. I have emailed a local expert; will post back here in due course...
I am told there are just two species of Empusa in Cyprus: E. pennata and fasciata.
But even he cannot tell them apart...
Bad luck then! Both species are almost identical (I don't know where they have the difference). And being a nymph, I think that ever is not possible to differenciate them externaly until they become adults.
I appreciate your help, but what makes you think it is a nymph?
From my searching, it is an adult; the last-instar nymph being quite different (brown, no wings, etc.)
For instance, here's a different specimen, captioned adult female
Of course, I'm referring to the subject of this post, the JoshJones's photo. Your photo, Mike, is an adult male.
Here's a quick key I just made-up for the four mantids in Cyprus:
1. Crest on head --> Empusa fasciata or E. pennata (cone-head mantids, cannot distinguish these easily)
- feathery antennae --> male
- simple antennae --> female
2. No crest on head:
3. Four spines on outer edge of each foremost femur --> Mantis religiosa (praying mantis; has a black-white spot on inside of each foremost coxa (near where foremost legs join body); colour ranges from green to tan)
4. Five spines on outer edge of each foremost femur --> Iris oratoria (Mediterranean mantis; has a basal bluish-purple patch on the hind wing, visible in flight)
- Has wings --> adult (some species elsewhere are wingless or have short wings)
- Has no wings --> nymph (within which there can be many stages ('instars'))
- Male and female of Mantis religiosa and Iris oratoria both have simple antennae.