Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Praying Mantis

Carolina Mantis (Stagmomantis carolina)

Ok ladies, admit it, how many of you out there would like to be one with the Praying Mantis and bite the head off your mate! Actually, the sexual cannibalism in Mantises is controversial. While observed in captivity, it is not often observed in Nature. That make the Mantis no less cool in my book.

It has been unseasonably hot here in Colorado this summer and the warm-loving Mantis has been spotted here and there. This specimen was on my driveway one morning. I spent a half hour cricking my neck with a macro lens trying to get a photo. I was laying on my belly and could not get my glasses into the view finder so most of the shots were blurry.

There are 6 species of Mantis in Colorado, but I believe this is a Carolina Mantis, which is common to the area. The European Mantis has two dots inside its forelegs. I never did see these since this bad boy kept his wicked looking "grippers" tightly closed.

Close up of the spins

I did observe him twisting his head around to preen his antennae. Mantis can articulate their heads up to 300 degrees. As you can see from the photos, their eyes are huge and their vision is binocular like humans (better to lunge at you my dear). This allows their body to stay still while their head turns to and fro looking for prey.

If you have not guessed already, the Praying Mantis is a carnivore. It primarily feeds on insects, which makes it the friend of organic farmers. Some species eat fish and one Mystery Science Theatre specimen was know to eat most of the human residents in a small town in Kansas. Yikes!


MyVintageCameras said...

Great Mantis! Seems to be the summer for them as I've seeposting fram across the USA.

Linda said...

Great dedication to getting these shots! Did any neighbours enquire if you were okay, or do they know you're crazy anyway?

I didn't know we had European Mantis. Perhaps not this far north.

sylvia murphy said...

HI Linda,
Alas, I could have been chomped by a dog-sized mantis and the neighbors would not have noticed. That is life in a US suburb. Certainly rolling around on the driveway in my work out clothes would have raised no eyebrows either.

Sue said...

I've had one on the driveway/front walk for three days! I think it likes it here. Happy to have him around. They are very cool.