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Posts Tagged ‘praying mantis’

If you were to pit a mantis against a spider, which one would have the advantage? I thought it would be the mantis, but that was clearly not the case this past week at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. This spider had a large web stretched over a path on which I was walking, and I guess the mantis was unlucky enough to get stuck in its sticky strands as it was moving through the air.

mantis versus spider

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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When I came upon this little praying mantis during a recent trip to Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, I couldn’t decide if it was the predator or the prey. Although the mantis seemed to be at least partially trapped in a spider’s web, the spider no longer seemed to be present. In addition, the mantis appeared to be trying to work its way out of the web.

There is definitely a story here, but I can’t figure out for sure what it is. You’ll have to choose an ending to the story on your own.

praying mantis

 

praying mantis

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Some movement in the leaves of a tree at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge caught my eye on Friday afternoon. I thought it might be a squirrel, but it turned out to be a pretty large praying mantis. There is entire order of mantises (Mantodea) that includes over 2400 species, according to Wikipedia, so I hope that you can forgive me for not identifying the specific species of this praying mantis.

I love how well its shape and color help it to blend in with its surroundings—if it hadn’t moved, I am pretty sure that I would never have noticed it.

praying mantis

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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When I spotted this praying mantis today at Huntley Meadows Park, I couldn’t help but think that it had chosen an appropriate pose to remember those who died and countless others whose live were forever changed by the tragic events of 9/11.

praying mantis

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I spotted this Praying Mantis on Saturday at Huntley Meadows Park as it was crawling about on a nesting box for birds in one of the remote areas of the park. I am pretty confident that the nesting box, which was used by Tree Swallows earlier in the year, was no longer in active use—otherwise the mantis probably would not have survived for long. I was struck by the size of the insect, which seemed to be about six inches (15 cm) in length.

I think this may be a Mantis religiosa, one of the more common types of mantises, though Wikipedia notes that there are over 2400 species worldwide, so I could easily be incorrect in my identification.

Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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When this praying mantis began to straddle a hapless grasshopper, I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, but suspect that the grasshopper may have been the one that began to pray.

Was the mantis looking at the grasshopper as a potential mate or a potential meal? With praying mantises, the question of mate or meal is a little complicated, because some females reportedly bite off the heads of the males after mating.

As it turned out, the praying mantis ignored the grasshopper and simply climbed over him and the grasshopper’s prayer undoubtedly turned into one of giving thanks.

mantis_grasshopper_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I feel lucky whenever I spot a praying mantis, because they are usually so well camouflaged that they are virtually invisible when motionless.

I was a little surprised to see a brown one recently (all the other ones that I have seen have been green), but I can’t help but note that the brown head makes those green compound eye really stand out. I really felt like the praying mantis was looking right at me as I tried to photograph it.

brown_praying_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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