13 September 2010
critters: Praying Mantises
Holy crap this is so cool! I found this mating pair of huge praying mantises hanging around in the front yard on the Texas persimmon tree. These are the largest praying mantises that I've seen in our yard.
Unbeknownst to the male (brown on the top), this female is about to make a snack of his head. Chomp chomp. She seems to be eying him up in this photo. I wish I had the time and patience to sit around and wait for that to happen. But instead I just captured their coitus for all eternity, or at least for so long as Picasa is around.
Praying mantises always remind me of my Grandmother, who gardened in Charlotte, N.C. (and not because of the killing-the-males-after-sex part, either. I wouldn't know. My Granddad was long lived and seemed a happy sort.) No, Grandmother was an avid gardener and keeper of the critters. I always loved trailing around her in the yard and collecting praying mantis egg cases from the wintery vines lacking leaves. There was a particular wall of vines that was always the best spot for collecting, just around from the sun porch. We'd snip off the egg case, throw it in an aquarium and then watch when the little mantids hatched. Surely this happened over month time periods, but it all blurs together now.
I can't wait to go hunting for the egg case in my own garden this winter.
So, cheers to Grandmother, for introducing me to these fascinating critters!