Monday, February 6, 2012

Just Like A Prayer

When we chatted about ladybugs the other day, I was reminded of how we bought some other garden workers at the same time-Praying Mantis.

Now these, unlike the ladybugs, come in a cocoon that hatches the baby mantis, called an ootheca. It is typically on a stick and you put it in your garden and watch it until it hatches. My hubby, Jim had the most awesome idea! Let's put the stick with the cocoon on the fireplace hearth so we could watch the mantis being born! When I protested that I didn't want an invasion of insects in the house, he replied that the directions stated it would take approximately a week and in the meantime, they would be nice and warm and away from the frost. So that's what we did...until in my horror one day I noticed a little foot sticking out from the cocoon! So I took it outside....just in time to see HUNDREDS of mantis come flying out and land on nearby shrubs. A very close call!

Mantodea, or mantises are referred to as "praying mantises" because of their prayer-like stance.The name "mantis" comes from the Greek word meaning "prophet". They can grasp their prey in their two front forelegs. Their head is very flexible, allowing movement of up to 300 degrees. They are predatory and eat mostly insects, but larger species have been known to eat birds, snakes and even frogs.

The mantis protect themselves with camouflage and concealment. When directly threatened, many mantis stand tall and spread their forelegs, with their wings fanning out wide. The fanning of the wings makes the mantis seem larger and more threatening, with some species having bright colors and patterns on their hind wings and inner surfaces of their front legs for this reason.
 This fellow visited us one summer and had a lot to say!
His stance seems to yell "I'm scary! Be very afraid!"
More on Praying Mantis tomorrow!

No comments: