Sorry, but more mantis spam. I should really be working on my painting or my digital stuff, but the weather is hot and I’m lazy.
Just a bit sinister in the face there….
Today I learned that most of the mantises in my yard are probably Stagmomantislimbata or Stagmomantis californica. Both species are found near each other, as they both perfer dry environments. The chaparral around my home is very dry and provides plenty of hot, sunny weather for mantises. I’m thinking most of them are S. limbata because the females hardly fly, but it’s hard to tell from photos.
An ancient file I dredged up while I was in a ‘mantis mood’. Trying to spread a little more mantis appreciation on the web. Probably my favorite photo of a mantis, ever, posing on a lantana bush.
Female mantises are larger than their male counterparts. This one was at least three inches long and was in her ‘prime’ at the time. Around September/October the mantises in my yard are the biggest and most impressive.
Mantids have 5 eyes. That’s right, five. They are able to turn their heads about 180 degrees around in order to spot their prey or any movement up to 60 feet.
I’ve decided mantids are the ninjas of the insect world and definitively my favorite insect. Fortunately I get the opportunity to watch them in my garden and snap photos.
With their infinte patience to wait for prey and lightning front limbs, they are the silent assassins to ants, ladybugs, and other insects. They don’t just crawl up a plant like a spider or ant. They practically undulate up the branch in order to mimic leaves and prevent from being preyed on by birds. More exotic species resemble orchids and elaborate leaves to wait for prey.
Nymph on a mango branch
I snapped several photos of a pair of mantises on some potted plants. The below mantis is a fantastic tan/yellow color that’s lost in the photo. She blends in perfectly with the dead leaves on the wisteria plant she’s currently occupying. Most of the mantises in my yard are green or shades of brown, but on occasion there are some odd yellow ones.
Mantises are great because they kill pesky ants and don’t target humans (like evil bees and wasps). I remember one time when I saw someone smash a mantis into the asphalt because it hit her while flying through the air. Mantises don’t bother people and definitely don’t need to be killed; a quick brush of the hand is all that’s needed to shoo them off.
I feel like I should make a mantis bumper sticker or something to spread awareness- …….”Mantises are your friends…DEADLY NINJA FRIENDS.”