Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Good, Bad, & The Ugly

Mantis religiosa

Click on photo to enlarge - © 2010 jim otterstrom

This big beautiful girl is one of many Praying Mantids (Mantis religiosa) we've encountered while doing yard clean-up around mom's place during the past 12 days. They are in the process of depositing their foam-like egg cases right now (see photo below) after which they will die. Each egg case or sac can contain up to 300 eggs. Praying Mantids are an insect species beneficial to humans because they are voracious predators of other insects, many of which are damaging to flowers, vegetables, and fruit.

If you're not convinced of the predatory skills of this amazing insect you can see photos of one that actually captured and ate a hummingbird (click here). Yes, she may be a lovely long-legged green-thinking biocentric female but I wouldn't want to get too close to her if we were any where near the same size.


Mantis religiosa Egg Sac
Click on photo to enlarge - © 2010 jim otterstrom


What's Scary About This Picture?
Click on photo to enlarge - © 2010 jim otterstrom

Many people think insects are ugly or scary looking, especially big insects like Praying Mantids, but to me they're elegantly beautiful in design and fascinating to behold. What's creepy looking to me in this picture is my hairy old arm...


Melanoplus sanguinipes
Click on photo to enlarge - © 2010 jim otterstrom


Another handsome colorful bug in abundance here is the large Migratory or Spur-throated Grasshopper (Melanoplus sanguinipes), but this insect is a pest to humans, notorious because of it's appetite for agricultural crops, grasses, leafy vegetables, fruits, flowers, buds, and even tree bark. My guess is that these critters are a challenge to control with organic methods when you're surrounded by miles of cornfields, but, not surprisingly, these grasshoppers are a favorite food of the Praying Mantids above, which, I'm sure, is why the mantids are also here in such great numbers.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Tabor said...

It is all about balance and give and take. Just a little IPM going on.

12:52 PM  
Anonymous Tonya said...

This is interesting and timely. I recently found what I now assume to be a Mantis egg case on a tree branch. I'm struggling to remember now exactly where. I love the Praying Mantis although I freely admit that they DO creep me out a bit when their head turns and they stay at you. LOL

The first year we lived on this property, totally surrounded by corn fields, we had grasshoppers in biblical proportions!!! I hated to even cut the grass because they were jumping all over me. We, of course, still have some every year but nothing to that degree since. Thank heavens!

5:51 AM  
Anonymous click to read more said...

Amazing! It so good! Really unbelievable photos! Thanks for sharing...

10:45 PM  

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