A Wing and a Prayer

Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis

Mulling over my options in front of our infested Magnolia tree, I noticed an interesting green shape on one of the leaves.  It took a moment for my eyes to adjust before realizing I was staring at a Praying Mantis.

I squealed at my husband to please run and get the boys and the camera, while I kept my eye on our new best friend.  It was incredible the way it matched the color of the leaves.  My older son thought it was “creepy,” but my 12-year-old likes bugs  so he was excited to see one in our garden.

Mantids are beneficial for the garden, but none of my reading yesterday suggested them for scale. Wouldn’t it be amazing if this shiny green creature planned to feast in the tree?

Mantid Looks Away

Mantid Looks Away

Mantid Stretched Out

Mantid Stretched Out

Check out PrayingMantis.org to learn more about these fascinating insects.

13 thoughts on “A Wing and a Prayer

  1. Pingback: And Then There Were Thrips | gardeningnirvana

  2. I hatched these when I student taught 1st grade. They are thee most fascinating little creatures! They eat with their hands and then clean themselves. I was sad to find out they dont live as well in California as other places in the world. THEY’RE
    SO COOL!

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    • What fun! I bet the kids loved that. We had a few in the Bagby School teachinggarden, about one-third larger then the one on our tree. I didn’t know they were less adapted to California.

      Thanks so much for commenting.

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    • He or she moved slowly on that branch. I’ve read up on them and now think it might have been shedding (they do that 10 times as adults…and they only live six months). It was between two and three inches, but some can get to be as big as five inches. I’m still amazed that I saw it. I do see well close up without glasses, but need them for distance.

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  3. Wow! You have much more interesting wildlife than we do! These are stunning pictures. I’m surprised, I always thought they were bigger than 3 – 5 inches. Your boys must have been fascinated.

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    • Unfortunately, no. That would have been great. The scale is back again and again. The lacewings didn’t hang around long enough to make a dent and the mantis didn’t eat them at all. It’s very difficult to get rid of, even after pruning the heavily infested branches, then wiping every single branch with warm, soapy water. Scale is tenacious!

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