Tuesday, June 11, 2013

nature journal: spring babies

gabriel and i headed out to run errands around 11:00 a.m. the other morning and his eagle eye spotted these little guys right away.  i was completely charmed.  aren't they adorable?  i know.  praying mantis aren't usually placed in the adorable category, but at a diminutive one centimeter in height, truly, they were adorable.  they reminded me of tiny southern gentlemen waiting for the debutantes to show up for the first dance at the cotillion.  they were all swaying to a tune that only they could hear.  so adorable.

i so desperately need a macro lens.  perhaps santa will bring me one this christmas if i am good.

HERE is an awesome website written by mantis lovers.  warning, the bugs here are big and not so adorable.  shudder.  i am hoping that my mantis population stays cute and tiny and dines on the aphids on my tomatoes.  i surely don't need any hummingbird killers around here.  <<<----- don't open that link.  trust me.

i believe this is the carolina mantis, stagmomantis carolina, a species native to east tennessee.  as adults, they will reach a little over 2 inches in length.  adult mantis are also apex predators in the insect kingdom.  dependent on camouflage, much like lions, tigers, and cheetahs, they can be brown, grey, or green.  the nymphs can actually adjust their color to match their surroundings at the time of each molting.  they will then retain the color of their final molting into adulthood.  and speaking of adulthood, this cotillion will end badly.  25% of all sexual encounters amongst the mantis end in cannibalism.  charming, i'm sure.  if you would still like to import some of these little guys as a natural means of biological control in your garden, carolina mantis oothecae are apparently available at your friendly neighborhood garden center.  - source