Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Praying Mantis

It was a special moment! To find the graceful, yet most unusual form of the mantis by my door.  Excitedly I ran indoors to get the camera to capture this special visitor to my garden. They are welcome visitors to the organic garden, as they consume insects that prey on our plants.  They dine on aphids, moths, crickets, grasshoppers and are even fast enough to catch mosquitoes and flies. I hope this one has laid eggs in my garden.

"I am the praying mantis. I have come to care for your garden.  With my grace and stealth I will protect your plants from insects that would harm them. I only visit gardens I want to save."

The word mantis in Greek means "prophet" or "fortune teller."  They are called praying mantises, because their front legs often bend as if in prayer.  Images of mantis in praying gesture.  In Europe the word praying mantis is used to refer to a specific species.  They are from the family of Mantidae.  They are masters of disguise, as you can see from the above photo, where the mantis has chosen foliage close to his/her color to inhabit.

Comparing the two photos one can see the movements of the head.  They can move their heads as much as 300 degrees.  And they have large eyes to aid their powers of vision.
" I can see all you are doing, but know that you do not want to harm me. I know the human admiration and awe of my form. You are welcome to observe me." I almost feel that a wise creature speaks to me out of this mantis. It carries the aura of wisdom. 

I caught a number of images of the mantis preparing for and cleaning his foot. If you want to see it even closer, you can see his tongue and mandibles cleaning the end of his segmented foot.
Cleaning his foot
The joy at finding this special creature in my garden remained with me all yesterday afternoon.  An insect so otherworldly, yet so helpful to the garden is a welcome, very special visitor.

" I will come back again, when you least expect to help you care for your garden. Farewell, human." Farewell, little beast. I will look for your return.


Rosey Pollen said...

That is so cool, Marydelle!
Great photos of the best guest a gardener could ever have!

wiseacre said...

Another great moment in gardening. I know how excited you can get, I just had that feeling discovering an Ambush Bug on my Spearmint feeding on a hornet.

Bangchik and Kakdah said...

Having friendly insects around is a nice treat.... But as usual, friendly insects don't appear in big numbers... Lovely photos Mary... ~bangchik

Autumn Belle said...

Great shots of this praying mantis. I love it!

Anonymous said...

I love the mantids....have since I was a child. We have had a number of them in our garden this year. Thye seem to be in hiding right now, hopefully off laying their eggs.

Kanak Hagjer said...

Hi Marydelle, thank you for telling me about this post. Loved it! As for the photos....wow! Especially the one cleaning its foot! I hope I can catch such moments in the near future:)

Have a lovely day!~ Kanak

Meredith said...

I guess he wasn't shy about bathing in front of a camera or a garden visitor! I love praying mantises.

Carolyn Parker said...

Hi Mary,
I love this Praying Mantis post. One visited my porch this past week and, funny thing, I just posted a photo today on flickr. Click if you'd like to see it.
I appreciate your research and the voice of the beautiful creature. I've book marked it.
Many thanks!

Linda said...

I enjoy watching these interesting guys as well. It's so cool how they can turn their heads and look around just like humans and animals. Great shots by the way. Thank for the info. about them.

glowingpearl said...

Aren't these wonderful? We had a female (brown) appear among some boxes at work, and moved her into a greenhouse that had some aphid-infested raspberries. She migrated somewhere into the thick of them after about a day; haven't seen her since. Hopefully she's laid some eggs somewhere....