The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Praying for a snack

Praying for a snack

There were two hitchhikers on our Meyer lemon tree we brought in on Friday.

They seemed cute together on Saturday and made me feel all warm inside.

Now there's just one. I'll let her out tomorrow after she's had a chance to digest the weekend.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Seeing a praying mantis brings good luck! They are cool that way, I guess.
Comment by Maggie Sun Oct 2 23:23:52 2011

Null, Did you know that a female praying mantis eats the male after copulation?

And that praying mantis' are the Bushman's god? Dani

Comment by Dani Mon Oct 3 01:35:39 2011

Maggie --- Between the four leaf clovers and the mantises, this must have been the luckiest year ever. We've had so many mantises that we usually see more than one a day. This spring, the baby mantises were so thick on the ground it was hard to walk without crushing them!

Dani --- When I researched that a few months ago, I learned that female mantises actually don't usually eat the males in the wild. In the lab, they do, but males generally get away if they're not in an enclosed space. Hadn't heard that about mantises being the bushman's god, though.

Comment by anna Mon Oct 3 07:20:52 2011
I cant see very well since he is half eaten, but the eaten one looks like it might be a native species (most are endangered at this point) and the one doing the eating is definately a chinese mantid (the reason the native species are in trouble.
Comment by Rebecca Tue Oct 4 06:24:18 2011
I have to admit that whenever I try to identify our mantises, I get stuck. That said, I thought that the Carolina Mantis was our most common native one and that it was considerably smaller? I think these guys were probably both the same species --- the one that got eaten was a bit smaller, but definitely in the same ball park. Do you have any quick tip for identifying the common species, native and invasive?
Comment by anna Tue Oct 4 12:52:22 2011
Well the chinese mantid, although it can vary from green to brown is usually green and has a bright green stripe running down the length of it's wing. Comparing size is iffy because they can hatch weeks to months apart so you don't know if you are looking at full grown adults (also the given sizes of adults are maximums, they don't always get that big). Given that Chinese mantids can grow up to 4" while european mantids get up to 3" and the carolina mantid gets up to 2.5". The eaten mantid is missing the fore legs (european mantids have a black ringed spot just below the fore coxae) and the outer wing casing is missing so identification is very difficult.
Comment by Rebecca Tue Oct 4 14:06:03 2011
Thanks for the ID notes! Given your description, I'm pretty sure the eaten one was a Chinese mantid too -- definitely more than 3 inches long. We've had scads of them this year, and I'm pretty sure all of the ones I've seen in the garden have been the same species from their coloration. I wasn't quite sure this spring when they were tiny and their coloration less distinct, but either the Chinese mantids ate everyone else up, or they were all Chinese to begin with.
Comment by anna Tue Oct 4 18:44:46 2011

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