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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Close Encounter with Stagmomantis

These mantids just seem to looooooooove riding indoors on the backs of humans.  I was walking out the door on my way to do some work in the office yesterday when I noticed this female Stagmomantis californica that hitchhiked inside on Mr. Cardui's sweatered back.  He's lucky she didn't get tangled in that mop of hair.  As we exit our vehicle parked on the street we brush against the shrubbery there and most likely that's where the mantis hitched on.

So I gathered her up gently in a big plastic cup for the trip back outside.  Outside where there are plenty of twigs and fences and terracotta pots to lay egg cases on.  Girl, the time now is to procreate not recreate.

It took her awhile to decide to climb out of the cup.  For a fierce predator, these mantids are kind of reticent.  Finally she crawled off into the bidens to start some new lives I hope.

A few days earlier I found another female S. californica in the pencil tree (green only variety of the oh so popular firesticks, both euphorbia tirucalli).  This mantis is brownish; the color of this species is various although most if not all males I've seen are brown.  She is also very plump and seems ready and able to get going and produce some ootheca. 

I never really looked closely at the antenna of these mantids.  This last closer-up photo shows off their graceful curvature.


Cindy said...

Do you know how many pictures of the Vice President I had to look at (on google) before I found biden flowers?

I bet lots of heavily eggnant and clumsy female mantids were blown out of the trees yesterday in the wind.

Anonymous said...

I'm delighted with the word "eggnant" but Mirriam W, denies it.
I think it should be!

vanessa cardui said...

Eggnant is so much more elegant than gravid, which sounds pretty downbeat, almost like a disease.

Bidens . . . you can call it tickseed but you might get misrouted to coreopsis! "Beggarticks" seems to be an exclusively bidens common name, though. A very rewarding plant.

Christine said...

I think gravid applies to the scorpion we found in our bedroom, eggnant seems a much better term for this lovely.