Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Let's Pray

My nephew had seen this guy outside but when we went it was gone. So the following day he came over with his little critter viewing bucket and he brought it over so we can see it. Of course, we had to get the camera out and take picture after picture till I got a few good ones.

A few things we learned about the praying mantis....Did you know that the Carolina Mantid was designated the state insect of South Carolina? We learned that camouflage is very important to their survival because they have many enemies such as birds and they must blend in so as not to be eaten. They also have a triangular shaped head with a large compound eye on each side. Praying mantids are the only insects that can turn from side to side to a full 180 degree angle. Wow!! When these creatures are at rest their front forelegs are held up as though they are praying. Pretty deceptive since what they are doing it waiting till their next prey comes along and they can quickly grab it and chomp down on it.

Their front legs have rows of sharp spines used to take hold of their prey. When a prey comes too close not knowing they are there this silent and very still killer thrusts its forelegs to catch it. Then quickly it bites the neck of the prey and begins to devour it. Most often it begins to eat its prey instantly and therefore usually the prey is still alive while it starts chomping down. This ensures a quick death and quickly stops the struggle of the unsuspecting victim.

Their menu includes other mantises, beetles, butterflies, spiders, crickets, grasshoppers, small vertebrates such as small tree frogs, lizards, mice and even some hummingbirds. So is it a pest?

Some might think they are but they are beneficial too. These Praying mantises are a terrific pest exterminator. Great for gardens where there are usually an abundance of pests.

Doesn't it look like it's wondering what I am doing? hehehe
There you have a little nature lesson for today.


School for Us said...

We used to play with praying mantises when I was little in Kansas. But, I rarely see them here in Texas. Thanks for sharing some info about them!

Patricia said...

I'd love to find a praying mantis. Cool pictures. Thanks for stopping by my nature blog and commenting on my spider find. Hope your weekend is perfectly delightful!

School for Us said...

You asked on my blog about the paddle boats at the Houston Zoo... They are actually outside the zoo kind of behind the train, but closer to the water. They cost $8 for 30 minutes. Hope you get to go and try them out soon! It's really a lot of fun.

Oh, and thanks for the tip to use clear film canisters for the Alka Seltzer experiments! And, to try WalMart. Great tips!

Brit said...

Interesting!! I like learning little things like that, but I have to say a prefer the pictures of the flowers on your last post. =)