Thursday, October 23, 2014
Typically green or brown and well camouflaged on the plants among which they live, mantis lie in ambush or patiently stalk their quarry. They use their front legs to snare their prey with reflexes so quick that they are difficult to see with the naked eye. Their legs are further equipped with spikes for snaring prey and pinning it in place.
Moths, crickets, grasshoppers, flies, and other insects are usually the unfortunate recipients of unwanted mantid attention. However, the insects will also eat others of their own kind. The most famous example of this is the notorious mating behavior of the adult female, who sometimes eats her mate just after—or even during—mating. Yet this behavior seems not to deter males from reproduction.
Females regularly lay hundreds of eggs in a small case, and nymphs hatch looking much like tiny versions of their parents.
We had an egg case hatch the day of a summer party and watched in awe as hundreds of tiny translucent baby mantis raced up the side of the garage to the roof. An egg case is a little bigger than an acorn and looks like it's made from Styrofoam. This picture was taken in the pots where we grow our vegetables.