Tuesday, September 8, 2009

ET Of The Insect World

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

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!!


Anonymous said...

I love these insects, however it far too cold for them to live here. although we are getting some warmer climate bugs now. My garden now has about 2/3 ant nests and i noticed red Lilly beetles this year.

Roses and stuff said...

This world is full of the strangest creatures... Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

These are amazing photos Kanak. What a fascinating life it has. I can't wait to see more photos later. Hope you are having a nice week.

Sunita said...

Great photos, Kanak. The praying mantis really does look like an extra-terrestrial, doesn't it? But if they're going to all the pests on my plants, I don't care how they look, they're welcome anyway!
I had no idea about the mantis eggs. Did you see where she attached the hardened eggs?

lotusleaf said...

There is a mantis waiting on a dahlia in my garden, which is there since a month!

Frances said...

Hi Kanak, I knew I would see amazing photos of interest here and I was not disappointed! Love the mantids and your mama has given your garden quite a gift with those dozens of yet to be babies. Here the egg cases sit over winter to open up when the weather warms again next year to release the hungry hoardes! :-)

islandgal246 said...

Kanak you do have a knack of taking great pictures especially of insects. I have been trying to take pictures of some birds and flying insects in my garden yesterday (it was blistering hot too) and was able to do very little. Even the lizards didn't stay around. I kept wondering how do you manage to do this? I think I will stick to flowers now lol. have a great day!

Kanak Hagjer said...

Barry, those red lily beetles sound interesting! glad to be able to share!

Mildred, I hope I'll be able to post updates later.

Sunita, the eggs are where she laid them--on the trellis. The colour has changed now and is a light brown. There's no sign of the mother now though I looked for her. Glad she left a future generation behind.

Padma, wow! I've read that they like to roam around much:-)

Frances, hi!! I've read that it takes till spring (as you've written) for the babies to emerge but since it's hot here, I'm wondering whether it'll take that long. It's going to be an exciting wait!!

Helen, so many times I'm usually after a butterfly when suddenly a dragonfly parks itself right in front...plain luck! Or sometimes it's a lizard. But I tiptoe around the To my neighbours, I must seem like a weirdo of the first order!! I remind myself I must never rush because I might scare away a skipper/a bird/ a lizard or a dragonfly. So I moonwalk;)*grin*

Susie said...

I was always afraid of these insects when I was a child. Now I just find them so fascinating. Hope you get to see the babies.

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Kanak: Wonderful pictures of the Praying mantis. They are the strangest looking things. They do look prehistoric or alien.

tina said...

I just found a HUGE one in my garden yesterday so I was excited to see yours. No eggs on mine but it was most fun. I'll be posting it next week, along with a video of it moving. They are really cool bugs. One day I walked outside and came back in and felt something crawling on me. It was a baby mantid about 1" long. I gently put it out the window. They are good insects to have around.

Stephanie said...

Kanak, gosh that's scary... the female will eat up the male? This creature looks so green and long. Yes best described as ET... a really strange creature. Nice shots and informative description you have posted here. TQ and have a restful evening!

Carla said...

I have never even thought to look for eggs!! This is too cool, thanks for sharing (I'll be looking for egg sacks now:)

Kanak Hagjer said...

Susie, I hope so too. I used to be scared of many kinds of insects as a child. But now things are different:)

Lona, thanks for stopping by. Strange, yes, and slow too.

Tina, that'll be fun---to watch your video, I mean. If I do get to see the babies, I'll be keeping a few of them. Let them eat all the flies and the aphids!!

Steph, thanks.It does look really strange...and wonderful too!

Carla, good luck with the eggs! I hope you find one of those cases.

birdy said...

A wonderful series of pictures with some interesting information. Preying mantis is one of my favorite insect. We have a lot of preying mantis, but never saw any laying egg pod. Eagerly waiting for mantis babies pictures.

Lancashire rose said...

How neat to see the eggs and case making. I have had several cases in the garden and one where they hatched inside the house. Hundreds of these miniature mantids running around and getting caught in corners where there were spiders webs. I got as many as I could onto paper and took them outside. You should have added that they also eat each other as I understand when the first one comes out he is frequently eaten by the next one!

Mia said...

ET or Alien is a good discription, I really enjoyed your photoes, amazing insect(and nice to know there are some creatures who have managed to keep their husband in place ;)

Blossom said...

Reading about mantis spurs excitement. You are lucky to be able to experience all those first hand. I haven't seen one for a very long time now. They sound like a violent creature ...

ShySongbird said...

I have seen these incredible creatures on other blogs Kanak and I really do think they are fascinating. How well camouflaged they are against the leaves! Nature never ceases to amaze me. I was so interested to read the information you gathered. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

Mary Delle said...

Mantises are really great and other-worldly. Nice photos. I just did a post on them, as well.

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Enjoyed your post and pictures!

Kanak Hagjer said...

Thanks Birdy....I hope I'll get to post them!!

Lancashire rose....thanks for stopping by! Interesting to read about your mantid experience:) I did mention that I'll have to release them as soon as they are born or they'll start eating each other! Several egg cases! There
must've been hundreds of them!! Thanks for sharing your experience.

Hi Mia...LOL! Woman power! Thanks for stopping by...have a great day!

Hi Blossom...the descriptions sound uncomplimentary. You're right about getting to see them like this...I'm so glad I happened to see it.

Jan, the camouflage is so good I almost missed it! Really, the best thing about gardening is coming across amazing insects and then finding out more about them. A fun way to learn! Happy to read your comment.

Mary Delle, checked out your post and LOVED it! Thanks for telling me.

Tatyana, thank you so much!

Gaston Studio said...

Great post and congrats on POTD mention.

We have rather large mantis here in the south; very interesting creatures.

recipes for the life said...

Congrats on being on the POTD list! I am glad I found your blog. I browsed through your earlier posts and I must tell you, your blog is very colourful. And pictures you have taken are so amazing. I am hooked
I'll keep visiting

♥ Chaitra

Sandi McBride said...

I spend this time of year looking for my Mantis's pods...I love them and let them crawl up my arms and love looking into their faces. So glad that you are now going to have Mantis's in your garden! Congratulations on the POTD nomination from David!

ellen abbott said...

I was lucky enough once to see the babies shortly after hatching. There must have been 50 little manitses all about 1/4" long clustered together on one plant.

Alix said...

Mantises are cool little guys, aren't they. Thank you so much for the up close and personal -and for the interesting lesson!

Congratulations on your POTD mention from authorblog. Enjoy the honor.

Brian Miller said...

love to watch a mantis when i stumble upon them. great shots. congrats on the POTD mention.

The Galloping Gardener said...

Love these pictures - can't wait to see more!

Carol said...

Yes! a great garden helper... except when he or she eats butterflies or their caters. Amazing creature... Great shots!!

Wendy said...

We have mantises here in Canada too. They really are strange-looking creatures. My older brothers used to terrorize me with them when we were children. They told me the praying mantis would come in my bed at night and eat me!

I never knew about how it lays eggs - and you were lucky enough to get a picture! Wow! It will be fun to watch them hatch.

Kanak Hagjer said...

Jane/Chaitra/Sandi/Ellen/Alix/Brian, thank you so much!

Galloping Gardener...thank you for stopping by! Will see you soon!

Carol, that's sad! After all it won't differentiate between beneficial/not beneficial insects! a child that must've been scary..LOL! I was lucky indeed...the case has turned brown already. I hope I can post updates later.

Prospero said...

Wonderful shots Kanak. That insect is so elegant. What a varied and colorful palette nature has given us.