Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Praying Mantis

Leaving the museum today, I found a praying mantis on my windshield. It was huge and bright green, and, well, it gives me the heebie jeebies. Upon arriving home I found another one above my door. Since I don’t know much about them other than that they are creepy and eat their mates, I decided to go on the internet and find out more about them.

Most of my information comes from Nature's Best. Praying mantis come from the same family as grasshoppers, crickets, and cockroaches (Eww!). There are three main species of praying mantis in North America: European mantid, the Chinese mantid, and the Carolina mantid.

Praying mantises can grow as big as 6 inches long (eww!). They eat butterflies, moths, bees, flies, beetles and other mantises. They also occasionally eat frogs, lizards and small birds.

Praying mantises have two sets of wings but are not distance flyers. Only the males can fly as the females are too heavy with eggs.

Praying mantis females do often eat their partner’s after mating. Ick! If you are so inclined, you can see a video of that here.

Apparently people buy praying mantises to eat bugs in their garden. Some people even keep them as pets. I have even heard of people that let them run loose in their house. To each their own, but I would never be able to sleep if I knew one of those things was running around.

This oil painting by Romérita Prates depicts a scene I swear I’ve seen in my nightmares.

I also found this amigurumi knitting pattern on etsy. Cute but creepy. She also sells patterns for owls, octopi, starfish and more. One of these days I will learn how to knit.

If you’re into jewelry, you can accessorize with praying mantis with this necklace by Artdawgs Jewelry.

Finally, check out this puppet from Kritters in the Mailbox. If your little one loved “Bugs Life” he will dig all the insect puppets they have available.

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