Backyard Nature Wednesday: Praying mantis
|See him? He's well-camouflaged, wearing the same color as the leaves, and sitting just to the right of the flower. That's right - he's a praying mantis, one of the most interesting of predatory insects.|
|Here he is from a slightly different angle.|
|Those front legs that are formidable weapons also give this insect its common name. In its resting pose, the legs are bent and held together at an angle that suggest the position of praying hands - thus, "praying" mantis.|
Praying mantids are welcome partners in the garden because they eat so many harmful insects. Indeed, gardeners often purchase egg cases of the insect to allow them to hatch in their gardens. I haven't found it necessary to do that since I seem to have plenty of naturally-occurring ones. And so can you if you eschew insecticides. The females regularly produce an egg case which holds hundreds of eggs. When the nymphs hatch, they look much like miniature versions of the adults. I frequently see large numbers of them around the garden in summer.
Here is a link to ten little-known facts about these fascinating insects.