If you follow me on Instagram you'll know that I saw a nice fat female mantis in the ribbon bush yesterday afternoon. One reason that late summer is so wonderful to me is that it has all of the best insect life (except for baby mantises, which are probably the most fun insects and hatch in June)
Those Instagram photos were taken with my phone, but later in the afternoon I went back outside with the good camera and discovered all of these wonderful and fascinating creatures in the walkway beds.
The female mantis on the Pachypodium lamerei at first glance seemed like she was regretting her choice of plant...
...so spiky! That fat abdomen seems to be in danger of puncture.
She could have been in the relative luxury of the ribbon bush (Homalocladium platycladum) like this one:
Surrounded by tiny flowers, bees upon which to feast (predatory insects don't know the beneficials from the pests unfortunately)...
...enough to get nice and fat:
But it seems that the mantis on the spiky Pachypodium trunk knew exactly what she was doing, and when it looked like she was about to start laying eggs I got her off of there:
(Technically she jumped off herself, but it was my hand that scared her into it.) Sure, this seems like a well-protected place in which to lay eggs, but since this will be a houseplant for me over the winter it will be in warm temperatures for months. I do not want dozens of baby mantises to hatch in my living room in January!
So I placed her in the nearby Japanese maple:
And continued my hunt for other interesting creatures.
"Hunt" is perhaps too strong a word, as there is so much going on here that I really just needed to glance around a little bit. My ears told me that this katydid was nearby:
And I saw this beautiful little spider on an Agastache foeniculum leaf while photographing the ribbon bush mantis:
I like seeing small spiders up close like this!
As I was taking these photos, I thought to myself "I wonder if I can find a stick bug anywhere?"
I was surprised and delighted to be able to say "yes!", and I didn't even have to look up in the trees.
It was in the rose mallow (Hibiscus lasiocarpos) on the stem right next to the katydid! Since it's not easy to get a good photo of an entire stick bug when it's stationary and all stretched out, here are the two halves:
Am I the only one excited to find all of these creatures in my late summer garden?
What are you finding in your own gardens?