Saturday, December 15, 2012

Praying Mantis - Super Garden "Pet"

I know that many of you don’t consider the Praying Mantis as a pet, but I just love these creatures in my garden! ...and I don't even have to feed or walk them! When I find their hardened tan foamy nests, I am all smiles! I know that there will be less damage to my flowers. These insects are ravenous eaters and do a lot to help get rid of harmful insects.


These are my photos of a praying mantis egg case (ootheca) with young just emerging. I was exceptionally lucky to be in the garden at just the right time to capture this moment! There had been a lot more mantises clinging to the case before I found it. Unfortunately, I hadn’t initially seen them when I was pruning this bush and got so excited when I did that I let go of the branch, causing most of the tiny creatures to be flung across the garden!
I love to watch these voracious eaters on my plants preying on annoying insects throughout the season. It’s neat to see them getting bigger by molting (splitting open their outside skeleton – exoskeleton – and emerging a size larger).
They have a different life cycle than most insects in that they have three stages: egg, nymph, adult. After the adults mate, the female lays a foamy egg-filled case that hardens. Eventually, tiny adult-looking insects emerge and molt many times, getting larger and larger throughout their lives until they reach adulthood. You may have read about the mating behavior of the adult female who sometimes eats her mate just after, or even during mating. Perhaps not knowing what is in store for him, the male is not deterred from this often fatal process!


  1. Amazing photos and information!!!

    Elizabeth Graf

  2. I have seen praying mantis (mantii?) sometimes, but I didn't realize what the egg case looked like or the cycle they go through. Thank you for sharing this blog post. :-)

  3. I love praying mantises! I wish I had them around in my yard.

  4. Oh!!! Wonderful post for letter F. Every Spring, I got to the garden center and purchase a quart of ladybugs and several preying mantis cases and put them in my yard. I have now added carpenter bees to the group. Since doing the ladybug/preying mantis release I have not used any pesticides in my yards. These little creatures are vigilant in keeping the bad bugs at bay!

  5. A cool pet. They don't make me all creeped out like some garden 'pets'. Spiders. Shudder.



    Focus, Jenny.

    I liked this interesting post. Your pictures had such great detail!

    Thank you for linking.

    And Happy New Year to you! I know I'm late but it's a sincere wish!



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