MIT, Carnegie Mellon University, Cal Tech, Berkeley together could not have designed a more efficient killer model. This Praying Mantis (Mantis religiosa) was busily cleaning its forelimbs on that hot August day. Another animal that I cannot resist, another siren calling me onto the rocks (I should have been seeking butterflies, and this was a distraction, so to speak). The challenge? Secure images that provide good views of head and those awesome forelimbs. Once, as a kid, I went to grasp such a mantis, and OWWWWW! it instead pincered me with impressive power. Didn’t ever try that again.
Do these efficient stalkers decimate insects in our fields and gardens? Nope. Better view them as players in the natural process of population adjustment.
With more than 8″ of snow down here in Pittsburgh (northeastern USA), remembering these mantids, seen here and there from late August into September, guides our thinking to a much warmer place, sans layered clothing, boots, gloves and the rest.
Hey, with immigration a much argued issue here, it should be recalled that Mantis religiosa came over on a boat, aliens some still call the European mantid. They are now all-American, work hard, and play totally by the rules.