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The Life Cycle of The Praying Mantis With Photos
The life cycle of the praying mantis
The praying mantis is almost alien looking with its triangular head and its thin body. The truth is it is a deadly killing machine and one of a gardeners greatest ally in the search for natural pest control.
To look at them they look fragile with their delicate legs and their paper-thin wings tucked neatly down. All of the photos here were taken just outside our door on our patio area, where we have been lucky enough to witness, the life cycle of the praying mantis.
Here in Brazil, where I live, we see many different types and encourage them wherever possible.
Many a morning we have had them perched around our outside dining table, as we leave the light on at night which attracts insects. This makes the perfect hunting grounds for them.
Praying Manits Camouflage
The camouflage of the praying mantis can be very good as you can see in the photo above. If this was perched near dying vegetation, you would be hard pressed to see it.
Some of the images below are the spitting image of a green leaf. The camouflage is used to hide them from a predator and also to conceal them from their prey to enable them to get within striking distance.
Still others we have seen here have long slender bodies which, when on the stalk of a plant, help them to disappear. Some almost seem to be a cross between a praying mantis and a stick insect, they can be so thin and long.
As I have mentioned we often see them in our patio area, where they are attract to the easy meal due to the light being left on at night.
We also have spotted them on the sides of coconut trees, in long grass, and even over the water on reeds (cattails). Their ability to fly ensures they capitalize on a wide hunting area.
Carnivores of the insect world
Let there be no mistake, these beautiful delicate creatures are carnivores. They are even cannibals as they will eat their own species as well. Often after copulation, the female will eat the male.
The picture above is one I took in the morning on the door step rug of a mantis eating an insect. Sadly, my 45kg dog trod on this as and killed it, the mat was where he sleeps.
Normally when we see mantises we place them on one of the palms on the patio where they can either fly from or stay there and hunt for food. This is where the following photos were taken.
Praying Mantis Laying Egg Sac
Praying Mantis Nymphs
The picture above is of a mantis laying an egg sac after we placed her on the palm on the patio. The egg sac is called an ootheca. As you can see this is the second egg sac which has been laid on the same palm. When the egg comes out it is quite soft and if you look closely you can still see it looks foamy. She stayed there until it hardened off.
Then we watched and waited until it hatched. It was only by sheer luck that we happened to be in the right place at the right time. Here the weather is always warm so they hatch quite quickly.
As the young ones emerged they were then on their own, At this time they could be prey for spiders, birds, other mantises.
The young nymphs scuttled off to make their way in the world .
Best Natural Pest Control
The praying mantis is a wonderful addition to your garden to keep the pests down. They will however eat virtually all insects, even some of the beneficial ones such as spiders.
That said, if you don't have any that you have seen, it could be worth introducing them into your garden.
Fun Facts About the Praying Mantis
The praying mantis can turn its head 180°,
Some larger praying mantis will catch lizards,frogs and small birds.
People keep them as pets
It grabs its prey with its front legs and the spines on its legs hold it securely in place while it is being eaten alive.
Each ootheca (egg case ) can have between 40-400 nymphs depending on the type.
The female will often eat the male after sex.
What do you do if you see a praying mantis?
© 2014 Mary Wickison