Monday, August 31, 2015

mantid mating

Praying mantises are the largest insects found in the Tennessee Valley and this is their mating season. (They already know this; I'm just letting you in on their secret.)

Once mated, the females can lay as many as 400 eggs depending on the species, perhaps even more. Who has time to count things as small as mantid eggs? The hardened egg case is called an ootheca. (Great Scrabble word! Four vowels, use it sometime.)

Praying mantises are also predators. Sometime next spring, the eggs hatch and the tiny mantids begin to prey on whatever insects they can find including their brethren and sistren.

- Photo taken at Ijams Nature Center

Mantid ootheca

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