Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Praying Mantises Emerge

Digging deeper into backyard biodiversity means getting you to look at what is in your backyard too.

This past week we had cons
ecutive days of temperatures in the high 90s F. The praying mantis egg cases seemed to be plumper each day. (This egg case was laid by a female praying mantis that I had caught and used in a class I was teaching last fall.)

Saturday night the low hovered around 60 degrees F. Sunday morning dawned overcast but warm. Everything was just right and the pray mantis juveniles emerged from their egg case leaving behind debris shed as they emerged.

We missed the moment of emergence, but this photo taken by our friend Jessica shows how the praying mantis juveniles hatch all at once. Jessica caught this moment in her yard.

The 4 -5 mm long, tiny praying mantises were dispersing when we saw them. There were 20-30 of them.

We wished them well as they dashed along the grape vine and across the patio supports. Some will become food for birds, lizards and other insects. Hopefully, some will grow up to prey on a variety of insects in the yard and lay their egg casings on twigs to continue the cycle of praying mantises in the yard.

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