Fall is the time for the large insects in the garden: spiders of course, but in my garden mantises are the star attraction. (Carolina mantis, Stagmomantis carolina) Yesterday I photographed a few of them, starting with this odd-colored one in the front garden:
I believe this is a male, and its color was strange... sort of a brown mustard?
More photos will show it off better...
...especially once it jumped to the castor bean leaf:
This guy was quite active, climbing and jumping around. The strong breeze (that makes this time of year so nice) didn't help when trying to snap photos, but it makes it easier to get close to these creatures because they don't notice you moving as much.
Meanwhile back behind the house I saw this female climbing my bird of paradise:
She seemed to be on a mission, making steady progress toward the house and upward. She was having some trouble getting footing on the large, slippery leaves.
Then I noticed a another one that appeared to have a head start, about 3' (0.9m) above:
It was up in the papyrus, and still wanting to go higher. Here's the whole scene:
You can see the first mantis in the grass at the bottom of the photo, while the other one is on a papyrus stem at the top -- you can't see that one though. It was behind the stem by now, looking for a way up.
It was still climbing:
And made it to the top of the surprisingly tall stem -- surprising because that plant is growing in a 5-gallon bucket that contains no soil, only water. The tallest stem must be 9' (2.7m) tall!
While I was looking at this third mantis, the second one had moved from the bird of paradise onto the grass leaves...
...to a point right in front of my face.
I think she wanted to climb me. I really love having Carolina mantis in my garden!
Looking for more mantises in the garden I found a stick bug, Diapheromera femorata:
It was on the native Hybiscus lasiocarpos, just like one was last year. Coincidence, or is there something about this plant that attracts stick bugs?
Are you finding any cool large insects in your garden?