Posts Tagged ‘praying mantis’

Ponytail Plant


I move my few houseplants outside in the summer, and place them at the base of a sweet gum tree. The ponytail plant (which is around 40 years old) is quite heavy and is at least four feet tall. There’s been more activity around it this summer than usual.


A leaf-footed bug’s found plenty of hiding places.


A daddy-longlegs stayed close for some reason,


and a young praying mantis didn’t like my attention.


And then this “showed up.” I walk a morning loop around our backyard, looking for spider webs to photograph, and have found several of these spider egg sacs. In all my years and years of hiking and camping, I’ve never seen one until this summer. So far I’ve found eight or nine of them.


My oldest son told me they’re spider egg sacs. They’re quite a curiosity. I don’t know if there’s one egg in each or more than one. The spider has shed its skin and isn’t around.


I just went out one last time to get pictures as close as I could. The egg sacs appear to be different now. The third one down from the top looks like the spider might be breaking out of the egg sac.


Two Praying Mantis

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This little praying mantis looks bigger than what it was. It was in the long leaves of my ponytail plant. I had the impression that it had just molted and that it sure didn’t like my presence.

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The second praying mantis was trying to hide in a sedum plant.

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This shed praying mantis skin was in a sedum too. The long legs identified the skin. The mantis was nowhere to be found … of course they are quite difficult to find.

Before the Storm

I was working in the backyard when I started hearing thunder in the distance.

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I kept my mind on taking pictures of any cooperative insect, like this damselfly. It was so small, and the sunlight overpowered its colors.

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The ever-present widow dragonfly perched for its turn to pose.

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These are the last flowers on the clump of butterflyweed. I will miss it.

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For some reason, I didn’t expect to see a praying mantis.


Thunder announced the approach of the storm cloud.


The sky continued to darken, and lightning flashed occasionally.


And then sheeting rain fell. The thunder and lightning completed the experience.

Evening Light

I just found out from my son that I goofed on the identification of this insect. It’s a mantis fly, not a praying mantis. I didn’t even know there was such an insect. The abdomen shape differs between the two. The veining of the wings of a mantis fly’s wings is square and is long in a praying mantis’).

I usually see green or brown praying mantises,

… and this one turned out to be a mantis fly.

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This one doesn’t fit in either color category.

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It looks like it molted recently and is waiting for its exoskeleton to dry.

Surprise, Surprise

March 8, another cloudy day… after a rainy day yesterday. So, I took advantage of the little sunshine in the afternoon.


The Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) were just starting to bloom.

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 I had quite a surprise when I went through my pictures and found a young praying mantis hiding among the flowers.


Only six or seven purple trilliums (Trillium recurvatum) bloomed.

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One of them also had a young praying mantis hiding down in the leaf. I just didn’t expect to see them early in April.

(A visitor to my blog pointed out that this as a Zeus assassin bug nymph. I was looking at the body, especially the abdomen and not the head. Oops.)

Praying Mantis

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The evening sun highlighted my first praying mantis of the year.

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The inch-long insect will grow to around four inches long.

Milkweed Residents


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A milkweed grows beside an old garage in our backyard. It hasn’t bloomed, so I don’t know what kind it is.

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This spider surprised me when I checked to see the milkweed’s other inhabitant. It’s the same species as the spiders that come out at night on the north side of our house.

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Finally …. finally the resident young praying mantis cooperated for a focused picture. It only measured an inch long at the most and didn’t like my attention. 

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The cropped picture shows the interesting mantis features — triangular head, prayer position of front legs and distinctive mantis shape. It will remain on the milkweed until its wings develop.


 The recent heat had the upper leaves drooping every evening. I checked on the praying mantis on the way in the house last night.

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What a surprise … it had just molted.

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It went around behind the leaf to hide from me.

The milkweed continued dry out, so I cut the upper part off and placed in large clump of plants that looked “buggy” enough for the young praying mantis.