The other day, as I was photographing a golden dragonfly, I noticed this Praying Mantis on the Crape Ginger plant. It's the first time I've seen a mantid here in my garden.
Taking a closer look, I found that it was heavy with egg. Since most of my potted plants have been shifted to the terrace, and I'm trying to attract more garden wildlife there, I took it (there) and placed it on the Mussaenda plant.
The word 'mantis' comes from the Greek for 'soothsayer' or 'prophet'. They are named because of their posture, front legs together as if they're praying.
There are 2000 species of mantises.They are carnivorous and their diet includes moths, grasshoppers, crickets and aphids. They blend in very well with their surroundings and this is important as birds prey on them.
This is how it stayed for the rest of the day. On the bean trellis. I'd seen a caterpillar there there so I thought it wouldn't need to hunt for food!
But the next morning, it'd climbed higher and had laid eggs or was still laying eggs. It was still attatched to the mass. The eggs were encased in a frothy liquid. It was so fresh that it still looked like a soft mass and it was whitish green. I found out online that the frothy liquid is called an "ootheca". The ootheca hardens and turns into a protective shell. The colour changes to brown.
I'll have to wait and see when the babies emerge. They'll be the size of ants and will start eating each other if they're not released in an open area. The female Praying Mantis is known to eat its mate during or after mating.The babies will moult several times before they become adults. It'll be worth the wait!!
Glory be to God for dappled things- For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow; For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings; Landscape plotted and pieced--fold, fallow, and plough; And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim. All things counter, original, spare, strange; Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim; He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: Praise him. Gerard Manley Hopkins
The first flowering shrub I planted on our land
Every flower is a soul blooming in Nature.-Gerard De Nerval
Shall I not have intelligence with the earth? Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself? -Henry David Thoreau