Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Return of the Mantis

One of the earliest postings we wrote was about finding a praying mantis in the garden. We had managed to photograph it back in October last year when we were busy felling the leylandii which had previously hidden the house from the outside world.

During the intervening months we haven't seen any more of these fascinating creatures.... until a couple of weeks ago I spotted one sunning itself on the side of the house.

It is such an amazing sight that we felt it worth a posting. This one was about 10cm long from head to tail but it's front legs are out of all proportion to the rest of its body and so make it seem much larger.

Its name comes from its 'prayer-like' stance, which is adopts when advancing on its prey.

 Mantises are predatory. The two forelegs are spiked to catch and hold secure their prey. They protect themselves by camouflage and concealment.

On the photo below you will see yellow 'eye spots' on the forelegs. These are shown in threat displays to startle the enemy.

Since the sighting two or three weeks ago we haven't come upon it again... Perhaps it will be another year before we see this magnificent creature again!


Susan said...

Late summer and autumn are the times for Praying Mantis. You won't see them early in the year and they overwinter as eggs in those strange 'expanding foam'cases. This one looks fairly 'pregnant' - she must be going to lay her eggs soon. Well done to get the 'underarm' eyespot - usually they are extremely unco-operative about that.

Loire Valley experiences said...

Great close-up shots - another thing I can't do!

Anonymous said...

We seldom see Praying mantis in oiur part of France, nut have loads of Stick Insects.