Tuesday, May 6, 2014

It's Praying Mantis Time!

The Praying Mantis population in my yard has provided many hours of fascination with their antics and habits. Today I saw the first newly-emerged ones for 2014.
They are about as big as a standard staple right now.
My first clue that they were emerging was the sight of this egg case with the white exoskeletons of the smallest nymphs. They progress through many stages of growth, shedding their skin each time. Click images to enlarge.

This year we have more than a dozen egg cases and I gave away about five more. They favor the Forsythia bush for placement of egg cases, but this year we found them on a Rose bush, a chain link fence, an evergreen and even on some tall weeds.

Their favorite spot in the summer is the Butterfly Bush, where they catch lots of insects and mate when mature. They only live for one season and the egg cases hold the next generation.
 Here is a mating couple in August 2013.
The female creates the egg case over several hours, as seen here in October 2013.

Backyard nature study is entrancing to me and I recommend it to all. Even a weedy vacant lot, such as the one I visited as a child growing up in East Orange, can yield a lot of interesting insights into the natural world.



  1. I love your mantises! Where I live most is pavement. I noticed the folks in back of us have started a garden with trees labeled "fruit" and various smaller plants. Perhaps they will draw some beneficial insect interest!

  2. I was just thinking YESTERDAY--where's the annual mantis blog post--and here it is! Love it!