Monday, September 14, 2009

Praying Mantis and Life is Good

From In the Garden

Life is good in the garden. All life is welcomed in Tiger Gardens most of the time because gardens are good. I especially like the beneficial insects such as this huge praying mantis that paid us a visit. I am hoping she (if it is a she) lay some eggs so even more will come to visit and chomp down on bad insects. I think it is female because she is so big.

She moved like a skink so much that I was a bit startled when I nearly stepped on her. I took a short video of her movements for your pleasure. During the video I got a small stick I was hoping she would climb upon, but she did not. What she did do was turn quickly as though she was ready to fight the stick-not me mind you as I kept my distance.

Enjoy the video and please share what kind of beneficial predators you've seen lately....

in the garden....

I want to say a big public thanks to Lzyjo. I won a drawing on her blog for a very nice set of potholders which arrived this past weekend. Thanks!

P.S. I believe this is a Chinese praying mantis and a female. Hence its different coloring. If anyone knows, do let me know. Thanks.


  1. Tina,
    Hope you get the chance to see her lay eggs it is really cool to watch. WE have about 6 of them here at least, lots of dead butterflies though.

  2. Tina girl .... Holy Cow !!
    I didn't think it was going to move THAT fast in the end .. I thought it was rather wobbly almost drunk when it was moving at first .. that would have scared the *blank* out of me girl ! LOL
    Cool video though .. and I have never seen one in real life .. darn .. I think I would be running away from it though ? LOL

  3. What a great shot of the mantis, Tina! And the video was fun to watch!

  4. I love these insects, but made the mistake of pointing one out in the garden to my wife, early in our marriage. I will not commit that blunder again.

  5. My girls love to watch these critters!

  6. Tina, what a great picture! I like that green/gray combination.

  7. Pretty neat Tina. I haven't seen one of these since I was a kid--did they leave Texas? :)
    Have a great day!

  8. Fascinating insects. I had one on the salvias where the hummingbirds feed, so I gently got her to latch on to a stick and I moved her out to another part of the garden.


  9. Great picture! I've seen one or two of them this year but (of course) I didn't have my camera!

  10. Aren't these fascinating creatures, Tina? I don't know if you were reading my blog last summer, but I kind of got carried away and posted about the mantis quite a few times. Last year we had so many of them; I even caught one picture of two of them mating! I became fascinated by these creatures--and yes, they can move fast when they want to. I've only seen a few this year, which makes me wonder if I accidentally disturbed an egg case when cleaning up this spring.

  11. You got a really great shot there, Tina. They always stop me in my tracks.

  12. WOW! It's gigantic! It's motions are so creepy, those sort of robotic legs. I haven't seen any here. Your very welcome for the potholders, I hope they serve you well.

  13. Dawn, It is huge!

    Randy, That is nature-unfortunately.

    Joy, I wish I could send you one of these! They are such an experience. We used to play with them as kids in Maine and I've always been fascinated by them. I think you'd like it too.

    Kanak, Didn't it look like she was about to attack? She was on the lookout for sure.

    Les, Your wife must be most afraid of the praying mantises?

    Darla, They are most cool.

    Tatyana, It was a unique color for sure.

    Linda, I hope they did not leave Texas that would be most sad.

    Cameron, I was surprised these guys can eat such big critters-they are good predators for sure.

    Dave, They seem to be around alot.

    Rose, I do remember those posts! I enjoyed all of the posts too. I think they are most neat. I bet they are around your garden just not so visible this year-maybe because of the rain?

    Jen, They are most fun and really can move like a lizard.

    Lzyjo, This one was really really big. They are neat. And thanks again for the potholders. It's always a joy to get a surprise package in the mail.

  14. Good morning Tina, I almost sat on a mantis the other day. It was resting a chair and very hard to see. Between them and the baby toads (also hard to see) I find myself creeping thru my yard.

  15. Hi Tina, thanks for showing us that big mama! We have been seeing a lot of those around this year too, more than the last couple of years. Is that why we have no butterflies though? I was once bitten by one of these big ones when I foolishly picked it up in the middle of the back. It could turn its head all the way around and bit my finger and would not let go! Ouch. and HA :-)

  16. Hi Tina, I too got bitten by a praying mantis, though I was trying to feed a spider to it. It drew blood trying to snatch the daddylong legs from my fingers. We do love this insect!

  17. Very cool insects, indeed. I've only seen them in all green. I wonder if the color varies by region/species or if their color changes as they mature?...

  18. I love the good bugs. I am getting over many insect fears being in the garden. Nice close-up!
    Thanks for sharing!

  19. Great photos. I recently saw a praying mantis while watering the garlice chives which are in bloom now. I went in the house to get my camera. When I returned the praying mantis has caught a honey bee and was eating it. I got a photo of that, amazing. She did that for the next three days in a row, I haven't seen her recently.

  20. Marnie, That would not have been pleasant at all!

    Frances, I am glad I kept my distance. Ouch!

    Janet, Ouch too! Gosh to draw blood that is painful!

    Monica, I looked up mantises and I believe this species is an introduced species from China, known as Chinese praying mantis. That would explain it being a color other than green. I never even knew we had introduced species but this type is spreading from New England so you may someday see it.

    Rosey, Well, this is a good bug but you know it eats good bugs and bad bugs:( Kind of like my cat who does an awesome job killing pests like voles but also does an awesome job killing birds:( As if I don't feed her enough.

    Linda, Hello and welcome. That must've been an amazing sight! I'd love to see it so I'll look for it. It seems these predators are most adapted to capture their meals. If the bee stung her it would serve her right!:)

  21. Pretty cool critter! I never see the green ones with fat bodies here. We have Walking Sticks~~Great big ones about 7 inches across. They love to hang out on the eves and walls! I love them in the garden..I wish they would take out a few assassin bugs! gail

  22. That’s an awesome picture of the Mantis Tina! I love the Praying Mantis and think they are really neat creatures in the garden. I recently saw a segment about the praying mantis on our local garden show. The guy gently picked it up and let it crawl all over his arm while talking about it. I had always thought they were scary and maybe poisonous but not so. I guess if you are feeding it and it mistakes your finger for a granddaddy long leg, it is not a good thing though. The one on the show seem to enjoy its stroll up the guys arm. The Saint and I were in awe of this segment as we have always stayed clear of them thinking they were poisonous and now we know differently…

  23. Awesome Tina!! Maine has always had so many of them around but I have not seen a 1 this summer. Thought maybe it was cause of all the rain but you have also had a lot. What I have seen is a lot of dragon flys.

  24. What a great picture. It looks giant and I don't know if I would've been brave enough to video it. We've had LOTS of spiders here lately, nothing as interesting as a Praying Mantis.

  25. I don't recall ever seeing one so big. Most of what I have seen are small grayish colored ones. I have also seen what they call "walking sticks".
    I haven't seen any here all summer. Dragon Fly's are all over the place. Not many butterflies, just small moths. I guess it's because of so much rain. Sat. & Sun. we had quite a bit of rain. I hope it doesn't cause my beans & beets to rot.

  26. How cool! I saw one for the first time this year back in New York, but I'd never seen one here, but just yesterday a friend found one in her yard here in Portland. Her husband seemed to know all kinds of stuff about them, and he handled it for quite a while until it flew away. He offered to let me hold it, but I declined. He said that the brown ones are indeed Chinese Mandids. The females I guess are usually much larger than the males. I hope you're right and yours was a female and planning on laying eggs.

  27. Gail, The walking sticks are most cool too. I hope they get the bad bugs for you.

    Skeeter, Not poisonous at all. As kids we used to play with these all the time in Maine. We found it fascinating they usually eat their mate after mating. Ha! The things kids think of. We never could get them to fight. Of course these were little green ones. Don't be afraid of them but don't let them bite as Frances and Janet said-it will hurt!

    Mom, I have most fond memories of playing with these guys in Maine. Whenever I see one I am taken back to the days of my tree fort building escapades. Maybe the rain slowed them down but they are around I am sure. Next year you'll see them everywhere because the bugs will be everywhere.

    Cathereine, I bet this bug was more than 5 inches long. It was very big and moved like a lizard-it certainly caught my eye.

    Lola, Dragonflies are very good predatory bugs. I enjoy seeing them here but they never pose for my camera:( Perhaps some day.

    Megan, I was pretty sure this is a Chinese one. An introduced one that is moving around the country. I had never seen one before as I am used to the green ones. Ah, you might always regret not holding a mantis:)

  28. I wonder how many Chinese vs native Mantis we have around here. The way they cock their heads when studying you makes them look so knowing.

  29. Great mantis! I've been battling a houseful of ants recently and have accidentally been taking out some spiders in the process. The spiders my all-time favorite useful bugs, so I hate to accidentally waste a few with the rag or vacuum.Early morning with dew on the webs is the best time of day...

  30. Fantastic photo Tina and the video was great. I would have flipped her too when she spun around and grabbed the stick like that! I've only seen a couple this year ~ both times at night climbing the front door screen (to get to the bugs swarming the outdoor light).

  31. What a fun video! I have taken some of the monarchs, but haven't figured out how to post them. Also, I seem to have used all my photo space on my blog, and need to find out how much it costs to keep them all, or start a new blog. I hate to do that, though.

  32. Hi all!

    Helen, Thanks!

    James, Roachprufe works great for ants. It is basically borax acid. You might try it. They can be pesky bugs. Now spiders in the house-gently move them outside..

    Kathleen, I did not even know these guys bit so I'm glad I kept my distance. She was a big girl! They are cool.

    Sue, just wanted to say that to upload a video you click on the video icon (next to the picture icon) and then follow the instructions. It is quite simple but takes a bit longer than it does with pictures. Darla at Family and Flowers used up all her photo space and started a new blog. But her post on it had some really good solutions. You might check it out. There are ways to upload pictures other than thru Picasa to your blog, I'm just not sure how to do it. I have gone back and deleted photos on there that I did not need and that helped to free some for me so for now I still have room. I guess I'll cross that road when I come to it otherwise I could maybe help you more.

  33. Sweetbay, I am not sure but the little bit of research I did says they are spreading from New England. They seem quite adapted and at home. I hope they don't kill off our native ones. There are several introduced varieties. I was surprised at just how many egg sacks of praying mantis are sold yearly when the population is pretty hefty as it is already. It is a shame they kill good bugs but I've not missed any butterflies here-and I've been looking:)