family Mantidae Burmeister, 1838
subfamily Deroplatyinae Giglio-Tos, 1919
genus Deroplatys Westwood, 1839
species Deroplatys sarawaca Westwood, 1889
Found in Sarawak, Malaysia
While West Malaysia is beaming with development, East Malaysia (Namely Sabah and Sarawak states), together with Kalimantan
(Indonesia) and Brunnei formed Borneo island that is still preserved with thick rainforest. Borneo Island has the world’s oldest
rainforest, and very rich in fauna and flora. The entire island separated from Asia mainland more than 100,000 years ago (South
China Sea separated both West and East Malaysia), with many species endemic to only this island.
This island also hosted most (if not all) of the Deroplatys species published in Mantodea (Ehrmann 2002). Although species like D.
lobata and D. dessicata can be found on both East and West Malaysia, the long separation between the two similar species could
lead to different subspecies or completely different species. So it came to no surprise that D. sarawaca was only endemic to this
place. Although Deroplatys species such as D. desiccata and D. lobata are common in Malaysia, there are many more species
from this genus considered elusive, mainly documented in East Malaysia of either Sabah or Sarawak states.
The picture of Deroplatys sarawaca was also showed up on ‘How to Know The Grasshoppers, Crickets, Cockroaches and Their
Allies, Jacques R. Helfer’s 1987’, although no species name was mentioned on that page. In that illustration, the D. sarawaca odd
pronotum shape and entire body was depicted as mimicking an orchid flower.
A friend from Taiwan by the username of Agym who I have known for few years recently posted his thought on D. sarawaca on a
Chinese insect forum. The particular specimen has a distinctive shape of pronotum which easily rule out other common Deroplatys
species like D. lobata, D. desiccata, or even D. truncata and D. trigonodera. I was also amazed with the build of the adult male for D.
sarawaca, which appear to be very much like D. trigonodera adult female, except for the two pointy extensions along the anterior
edge of pronotum. Agym has apparently reared and kept this species before and currently also kept some dried specimen of this
species. It is always great to know that some elusive species thought to have disappear showed up once a while. But the question
always is, could this be the elusive dead leaf mantis species, Deroplaty sarawaca ………………….? (scroll down)
Photo taken by Agym.