Tiny things #2

Continuing with my "tiny things" posts, this is the photo I received from my wife when I was out of town the other day:


Of course the mantis babies hatched three weeks early, right? Everything else in the garden has been early this year, so why not them? I was disappointed that I missed the event, as I enjoy releasing the little boys and girls all around the garden. Knowing exactly where each of them was given their freedom lets me return every week or so to see if I can find them and check on their progress.

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If you remember, these are the two egg cases that I found on my vine pergola and in my fireplace. They were put into a jar in the refrigerator for the winter, then taken out a month or two ago. They sit there on the kitchen counter just long enough that we almost forget about them.

Then one day, usually in the first couple of weeks of June, we wake up to a swarm of tiny mantises in the jar.


Sometimes we get to watch the emergence, and I recorded that one year -- I'll have to dig up that video and post it. It's pretty fascinating.


These are one of my favorite baby insects, because as juveniles they already have their final adult form, but in miniature. Well, except for wings. So not final, but close.


There seem to always be a few late hatchers, so it's important to keep the lid on the jar for a few more days after the main event. I was hoping that would be the case again this year, and it was! So I got the chance to take some photos.


There were three latecomers, but I really only photographed one of them. The second climbed around on the kitchen chair and the third stayed in the jar. I was glad they weren't too willing to run -- the first of these to hatch (in the main swarm) are much more eager to disperse. One year we left the jar open and spent much of the rest of the morning trying to get mantis babies off the ceiling.

They look so much more comfortable outdoors, don't they?


I like the way their pupils (?) dilate in low light. The black eyes make them look much meaner somehow.


How mean can you look when you're at most 1/4" (6 mm) long though?


I'm glad I got a chance to see a few of these tiny mantises this year, and will be keeping an eye on them in the garden over the next few months... if I can find them!

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Teri  – (May 29, 2012 at 7:41 AM)  

I love them too. We had a hatching around our deck, as we now have all sorts of tiny little 'friends' all over the plants.

Lucy  – (May 29, 2012 at 9:34 AM)  

Astonishing. Didn't realise this is possible. I am not familiar with mantises in person but from the pictures - they swing around from being sweet to a brave attempt at menace.

Gerhard Bock  – (May 29, 2012 at 11:30 AM)  

I love praying mantises. The babies look so cute, I'm surprised Pixar hasn't made a praying mantis movie yet!

Alan @ It's not work, It's gardening!  – (May 29, 2012 at 2:42 PM)  

Gerhard: Bugs Life had a mantis in the circus troupe. Adult mantids aren't as cute though.

Bom  – (May 30, 2012 at 8:00 AM)  

We used to have a lot in the garden but have been not seen any lately. Needless to say, none of them ever posed for me like that.
;-P

~Gardener on Sherlock Street  – (June 5, 2012 at 8:32 PM)  

Those are awesome photos. We have a lot of praying mantis in our garden, For some reason, we always seem to have some hatch by our front door so we find them around our porch each year.

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