Thursday, December 11, 2014

Don't Prey on Me

Mantises are cool!  This is the first time I ever saw one outside of the Insect House at the zoo.  The Northeastern United States is known to have two species of mantis, both non-native and introduced sometime in the late 19th century, probably by accident.  However, they are great pest control, and have been encouraged by nurseries and farms throughout the area.  This particular mantis is the tenodera sinensis, the Chinese Mantis.

This one must have been around three inches long.  They can grow as big as four and a half.  I caught it chowing down on what I think used to be a bee.  Mantises will eat anything apparently, which is a good thing if you want to decrease your populations of pests, but not so good if they eat the bees, spiders, wasps and other similarly beneficial predators.  They have also been known to go after hummingbirds, and small rodents, as well as other mantises.  

Mantises share the same order, Dictyoptera, as termites and cockroaches.  They are the suborder Mantodea, and the termites and cockroaches are of the suborder Blattodea.  They are also pretty similar to phasmids (walking sticks), and grylloblattids (ice crawlers).  

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