Monday, May 9, 2016

Praying Mantis Release

About 3-4 weeks ago, a friend of mine found a Praying Mantis egg case while we were hiking. I brought it home, and put it in a pop-up bug carrier. Much to the dismay of my husband, I kept it on my nightstand so I could keep an eye on it. This morning as I was getting ready for the day, I noticed that they had finally hatched! I really just wanted to keep the spent egg case, and not release the mantises into my backyard. Praying Mantids can grow quite large...3"-5" depending on the species. They are known to eat butterflies, and even hummingbirds! Don't believe it? Google: praying mantis eating hummingbird
Since I spend summers trying to help Monarchs, I would prefer to not have hundreds of mantises running around my yard. One egg case can contain 75-200 mantises! So, after work today, I grabbed my 4 granddaughters, and the mantises, and we headed back to where the egg case was originally found, and we released all of the tiny babies.

Note:  These are Chinese Praying Mantises.  They were introduced to the United States in 1895 as a means of insect control.  They have now eclipsed the native species.  At this point in time, it is useless to think that destroying one egg case could help the situation.  It was a far more valuable lesson to teach children to love nature.

My granddaughter inspecting the egg case, called an ootheca

Egg case. The fluffy stuff in the middle is where they emerged.

Getting ready to release!

They were not that easy to coax out of the carrier. We ended up having to gently scoop them out of it.

Some baby insects don't look anything at all like their adult version. These are perfect miniatures of adults.

After the release, time to go on 'Adventures'!

#4 found a hole. I told her it was something's front door. She wanted to see who was home.

I hope they never tire of walking on rocks by a stream.

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