Our babies are growing!

Jun 25, 12 • Uncategorized2 Comments

Praying mantid

A few short weeks ago the praying mantid egg case I purchased at a local plant nursery hatched out hundreds of young mantids. When they first appeared, they were a mere quarter inch long. I found this one today and he is already an inch long.

Notice the drop of water clinging to his “armpit”? Since it hasn’t rained here in quite some time, the droplet must be dew.

These Chinese mantids are one of two common species found here in the East. The other is the European mantid. Both, as you can probably tell from their names, are imported species. Here in the U.S., we have about 20 native mantid species with only the Carolina mantid being found here in Pennsylvania (and only rarely at that). Most native mantids are southern species.

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2 Responses to Our babies are growing!

  1. Martin says:

    it was probably snemooe’s pet. I’ve always been something of a mantis nut (used to gather them wild as a kid and keep them as pets’ for a few days) so I asked her if she had something I could keep it in.We fed it meats, clipped small bits of branch every day to line a tiny gold birdcage, and generally spent a good deal of time talking to it. My son thought it was the coolest thing ever.It went on field trips to school, along with bamboo skewers for the kids in my son’s special ed classes to feed it. Even the least articulate marveled at this strange being brought into their midst.Eventually, however, I had to return home. As if understanding this, the mantis gave me one last gift. It deposited a large clutch of foam in one corner of the cage, settled in a beautiful position on a branch, and died. I mourned for days afterwards. She came home with me inside a plastic cup, resting on a bed of tissues to keep her frozen frame from breaking apart. Once there, she lived, free again, on my desk until spring. I took her into the yard and laid her under a fig tree and walked away.My mom wrote to tell me she had hung the opened cage outside on her trellis, as asked, in a spot that would get light and warmth, but would be extremely well protected from birds. Weeks later, she would call me, screaming You’re a mommy! You’re a mommy! ..considering I have a son, I didn’t see how this was suddenly news to her. They HATCHED! There were hundreds of them! All in little lines, climbing out and disappearing into my vines! They were SO TINY! on and on she went.I still miss my little mantis friend. She really cracked me up. When I came out in the morning, she’d be pinned to the corner of the cage, one little digit-tip poking out to wave at me. When I’d open the cage, she’d climb onto me with an eagerness I had come to expect in dogs alone. Her head would tilt and follow me when I talked, if I wasn’t holding her. She loved to ride on my shoulder and stroke my hair. Loved even more when I’d lift her to sit on my glasses or the top of my head. she also ate a little bit of the tip of my aunt’s finger. My aunt, fellow bug-nut, didn’t blame her for not recognizing that breakfast had changed from raw meat to LIVING meat.I only have a couple pictures of her, but I think my little mantis will always be one of my most loved pets.

    • Luis says:

      I just found a baby on one of my pepper ptlnas that I suspect is the progeny of a rather large one I found last summer. I was trimming my african basil and found myself almost eye to eye with something that did not look at all like african basil! Needless to say, I backed out of range of those super-fast graspers and watched her (presumably) for the rest of the summer until she disappeared sometime around September, hoping that she at least laid a few eggs before she left. I wish they ate aphids, since the little buggers are decimating my poor dill.

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