Chomping on a Moth . . .

Mantid with forelimb in moth photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania, 9/4/14
September 4th 2014, and I’m working the edge of a 100+ acre field in Raccoon Creek State Park, southwestern Pennsylvania. For those of you from the more than 100 countries who visit wingedbeauty, this is about 8.5 hours by car, west of New York City.

August and September bring new action to the northeastern United States, and our female Praying Mantis (Mantis religious) is common during these months. I met her as she was in the middle of devouring this moth. She did not appear to be threatened by my steady approach, macro- lens come within some 2 feet of her. That was no surprise, because Jeff remembers back when he was a boy, and reached out to grab a Praying Mantis. OMG! Her bite HURT! She also speared me with those skin piercing points on her forelimbs. She’s got the weapons sure enough.

I shot out several dozen images, what with her so fine to look at, the pathos/natural cycle of the field, rich-yellow goldenrod flower heads, and excellent early morning sunlight, coming in at a very, good angle.

Read a recent discussion on Facebook considering whether or not Mantids are a threat to butterflies. The consensus of some very field savvy folks was that they are not. Our experts infrequently see them take butterflies. I am comfortable with that.

Truth of it? I like and admire Mantis religiousa. Over time I’ve also come to be an admirer of their formidable cousin, the Chinese Mantid, also found in much of the U.S..


N.B., I’m 2 days back from my 3 weeks out of the country. My field work was very pleasing. When the slides come back from Kansas, we’ll see what we can see.

2 thoughts on “Chomping on a Moth . . .

  1. Sadly, I have to tell you Jeff that i have surprised praying/preying mantises with half a monarch butterfly caterpillar in its mouth, and in my garden they do as much damage to caterpillars as wasps, alas..


  2. great image, the colours are unbelievable! i never saw one in europe, but some twenty year ago i was in ghana and could admire (for a tiny short time ) a sphodromantis lineola.


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