A praying mantis

When we got home on Saturday afternoon, we saw a praying mantis laying eggs in the grouting between the bricks that make up our outside fireplace.

I thought it was quite magical to see this. And I feel honoured that she chose to lay her eggs in our garden, because they are extraordinary little predators, hunting all kinds of small insects – as well as “small reptiles, rodents, frogs and small birds” (Wikipedia)!! Good grief!

It is a good sign to see mantises in your garden, but they won’t survive if you use a lot of chemical fertilisers or pesticides.

Praying mantis laying eggs

Praying mantis laying eggs

With regard to procreation,

“Eggs are typically deposited in a frothy mass that is produced by glands in the abdomen. This froth then hardens, creating a protective capsule with a further protective coat, and the egg mass is called an ootheca. Depending on the species these can be attached to a flat surface, wrapped around a plant or even deposited in the ground. Despite the versatility and durability of the eggs, they are often preyed on, especially by several species of parasitic wasps. In a few species, the mother guards the eggs.” (Wikipedia)

In our case, I haven’t seen Mumsy around since last night, so either she was eaten or she flew away. Perhaps she’s trusting us to keep an eye on her littl’uns.

I’ll keep ya posted.

4 thoughts on “A praying mantis

  1. These little carnivores with the heads that turn side to side creep me out at times but they are fascinating creatures. I once found an underground nest of several that looked almost mature while digging in a garden. What a startling experience that was. They were such a bright green.

    • Honestly, I also find them rather creepy-looking with those big bulbous eyes and the segmented body. But at the same time, there’s something ancient and almost otherworldly around them that makes me wonder whether they are messengers of another world. The Bushmen tell stories of a being called |Kaggen, which is often translated as ‘mantis’, who was a trickster and endowed with supernatural powers. |Kaggen was also a shapeshifter, who appeared as other animals too, like an eland, a vulture, a snake, or a hare. I love those kinds of stories, and wish I knew more about them. 🙂

  2. How interesting Reggie! I was able to find an online excerpt from The Celestial River by Andrea Stenn Stryer. It relates one of these stories about !Kaggen and the Bushmen who seem to also be known as the San people.

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