Watching praying mantises is boring after the first few minutes. They sit still or gently sway hanging on a twig or leaf for hours waiting.
If an insect happens by, instant action too fast to see occurs. The mantis has a meal. After dining and cleaning up, the mantis resumes waiting.
There are times watching praying mantises is interesting. One time is when the big female lays her eggs in the fall.
The most obvious mantises around the place are Chinese mantises imported by gardeners for insect control. The females get six or seven inches long.
All mantises die in the fall. The next generation is encased in what looks like a piece of tan foam attached to a branch or stalk. The favored ones here are the bamboo and the sumac. Blackberry canes will do.
The female faces the ground and starts shooting out liquid that bubbles up and hardens into foam. Eggs are hidden in the foam.
Spring brings the next interesting time for watching praying mantises. The eggs hatch once spring warms up.
The half inch long miniature mantises emerge one by one moving quickly away from the case. Each has a bit of yolk left from the egg. It doesn’t last long and baby mantises are not picky eaters, even eating siblings.
As the baby mantises grow, they molt. Each time they get bigger. On their final molt they emerge with wings.
People make a big deal out of female mantises eating their mates. It isn’t really. The male mantis who survives mating will die within a week. If eaten, his protein helps make his eggs more numerous and able to produce stronger babies in the spring.
Smaller mantises are the same green as the plants they sit on. Spotting them is a lucky chance.
I enjoy seeing them, glad they are busy munching on bugs I would rather not have around. Watching praying mantises is still boring over the summer.