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Friday, September 07, 2007

Mantis musings

Early this summer I saw a few young mantids. So I'm thinking, OK, it would be logical that these young ones are the offspring of some of the Tenodera aridifolia sinensis that hatched all over the kitchen table and up the walls in June 2006. However, these 2007 editions were distinctly striped and mottled dark and light brown and even yellow/gold, not looking a whole lot like those dull green Chinese mantid nymphs which are so last year. A strangely elusive lot for such fierce predators, I hadn't seen exoskeleton or antennae of any sort of mantid until recently when I saw this near-adult on the buddleia. These buddleia were planted in June, and just possibly the mantid came free with the plants and is not one of the dark/light brown even yellow/gold mottled/striped ones of May. I swear, I'm gonna start tagging this critters with little teensy implants and clear up all these fuzzy ID questions. Maybe, though, this is California mantis, Stagmomantis californica. and it is one of the little ones that occurred more or less naturally in the yard, all grown up. Sadly I can't find any photos of S. californica nymphs to compare. Hmmm.


Cindy said...

Since I have been trying (in a half-assed way) to properly ID more of the bugs I find lately, I particularly want to know how many different kinds of mantids we really have here, and their scientific names. I have been slowly accumulating a photo collection of different species in their various stages. I think the ones that start as dark brown hatchlings are the S. californica, and there's also S. limbata, which looks similar, but is larger, and the nymphs hatch out bigger and pale cream color. The nymphs of both these species tend to curl their abdomens up over their backs.

There is another species, Iris oratoria, which is similar in size to A. californica, but the nymphs don't curl their abdomens. Also, their abdomens don't "flare out" like the Stagmomantis.

Someday, I'll post a pictorial comparison of these 3.

Then there are the ground mantids, which I have only rarely seen.

vanessa cardui said...

Thanks for the info, Cindy. I figured I could look to you for the poop on mantids.