Howdy Stalkers! Welcome to the tenth installment of Stalking Mike Blair Outdoors! How did ya’ll like the exclusive interview last week? Which book did you get? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
So, Mike put together this video a while ago, that’s about the praying mantis, winter survival, it’s eggs and some about its young. I really learned quite a bit about this curious insect. So, I’ve gone through some of Mike’s past work and found some more images and information on them. You can check out the video, Mantis Egg Mass here.
A praying mantis is widely known and easily recognizable for its prominent front legs; which are bent and held together at an angle that suggests the position of prayer.
These insects have triangular heads with a long “neck,” or elongated thorax. Mantids, (which includes a larger group of these insects) can turn their heads 180 degrees. This allows them to scan their surroundings. Aiding in this task, they have two large compound eyes and three other simple eyes located between them.
Praying Mantids are typically green or brown and well camouflaged on the plants that they live among. They are formidable predators. Lying in wait to ambush their prey or patiently stalking their quarry. They use their front legs to snare their prey with quick reflexes. This reflex is so quick, it’s difficult to see with the naked eye. The front legs also have spikes to help snaring prey and pinning it in place. They will then eat their prey, head first.
Moths, crickets, grasshoppers, flies and other insects are the usual prey of the praying mantis. However, they will also eat others of their own kind. The most famous of this act, is the mating behavior of the adult female, who sometimes eats her mate just after or sometimes even during mating. Yet, for some reason, this behavior doesn’t seem to deter males from reproduction.
The average life span in the wild for these insects is about 12 months. Females regularly lay hundreds of eggs in a small case, and nymphs hatch looking much like tiny versions of their parents. You can view more of this stage in Mike’s video.
Keep your eye out for these camouflaged insects when you’re out on your next walk. Stay tuned in for more short videos from Mike and more opportunities on our Facebook page.
Check out the Praying Mantis Gallery