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October 5, 2011 - 11:08am

A youngster's introduction to the praying mantis

posted by JIM NIGRO in outdoors, nature, praying mantis.

The two youngsters in the photo above have their eyes riveted to something in the flower bed behind their home. That's Joshua on the left along with brother Tim. Whatever it is they're watching has also gotten the attention of their father. Five-year-old Joshua has a fascination with the smaller members of the animal kingdom, particularly insects. Crickets and grasshoppers are old stuff for Joshua, and he has on more than one occasion caught dragonflies with his bare hands, been stung by bees, etc. ... that may be one reason why he is ordered to empty his pockets before coming back into the house.

While Joshua has spent countless hours in the backyard catching a variety of bugs, this praying mantis was a first for he and his brother. As with the rest of his insect discoveries, he began to move in for a capture -- until he was warned not to. See that brown claw? It's sharp and lightening fast.

The praying mantis has long been considered good to have around your shrubs and garden plants for pest control. They reportedly have a healthy appetite for insects but they are actually quite adept at taking small animals as well. If you care to, Google mantis vs. snake or praying mantis vs. hummingbird and you will see how truly deadly they can be.

The mantis obviously had enough interaction with humans and decided it was time to turn tail and head back to the brushy confines of the flowerbed.

Back among the greenery, the mantis blends in well, all the better to ambush its intended quarry.     

To no one's surprise, Joshua was totally enrapt with the praying mantis. I told him that, if he let the mantis be, I'd take him to a really great place to see "all the critters he enjoys so much." That turned out to be an equally fun outing for both of us and I hope to have it posted tomorrow. 

Jeffrey R. Bartz
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Joined: Oct 17 2008 - 10:22am

You'll never believe what Joshua just said to his mother the other day. It went like this:
Mom: Joshua, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Joshua: A bug collector.
Mom: Do you want to get married some day?
Joshua: Yeah, but I don't want human children. I want creatures that I can keep in cages.
He certainly has an active imagination and a passion for exploring the outdors. Must be in his blood :-)

JIM NIGRO
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Joined: Oct 14 2008 - 4:37pm

He's only getting started.......just wait!!!!

Gabor Deutsch
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Joined: May 24 2008 - 4:16pm

I keep thinking about Moths and the phrase "it rubs the lotion on its skin"....

:P

Elizabeth Downie
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Joined: Nov 10 2009 - 5:57pm

My husband and I took a nice long stroll around the city of Batavia back in late August and noticed several Praying Mantises around the town. The ones we saw were brown, not green, but they were just as beautiful and didn't seem to mind our gawking at them. We had never seen brown Praying Mantises before, so it was neat to see that they do come in another color than green.

Doug Yeomans
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Joined: Feb 13 2009 - 8:28am

Adults are usually between 1.5 and 3 inches long and are green or brown in color. Their color is adapted to their environment. In a wet environment they will be green and in a dry environment they will be brown. Praying Mantids have ultrasound hearing of the same frequency used by bats. These insects are originally from Europe and are now found throughout the United States. They do not bite humans or spread disease. The Praying Mantids closest relatives are stick insects, grasshoppers, and cockroaches.

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