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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mantis Season

It's late August, the humidity is up, the summer insects are maturing, and I'm wishing I was jumping into a high Sierra lake.  Recent travel to Lone Pine was highlighted by a visit from this male mantis (species: uncertain) perched on the shiny red door of room 2 at the Portal Motel.

Meanwhile, back home in Tustin the buddleia is a great spot for mantises seeking prey.  Buddleia in bloom attracts lots of butterflies and other nectar feeders.
This little one is lurking under a fragrant flower on the lookout for unaware smaller prey.

Nearby on top of the highest flower on the same shrub, this nearly mature female Stagmomantis californica perches on top of the highest flower awaiting prey.

Wait long enough, and a fiery skipper (Hylephila phyleus) provides her with a juicy greeen meal,

leaving a trail of wings spread across the white flowery site of its demise.

Then, I found this beauty flirting with the sedum nussbaumerianum in our nursery.  

This is also a female, as evidenced by the broad abdomen and female parts at the end of same.  Stagmomantis californica take on a variety of colors including brown, yellowish, very light tan, and green as seen here nicely contrasting with the coppertone stonecrop.  Here is a closer-up of the wing buds which appear after the second to last molt.

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