Death Valley Mantids
(or at least evidence thereof)
I actually took these pictures last Monday, but despite the claim of wireless internet Panamint Springs, I was unable to connect online. By the time I got home last Wednesday, I figured I would just wait till the following Monday (today)
At the little gas station store/gift shop, I was amazed to see not one, but two baskets of praying mantis toys. It seemed strange. I had never realized there were mantids in Death Valley other than those obscure little ground mantids I found 10 years ago. Certainly not enough to warrant selling them by the basket-load. Imagine my surprise when I discovered a mantis egg case under the eaves outside our hotel room.
This, of course, led me to look for and find many egg cases all over the hotel area. All of them were old, maybe accumulated over several years, so I'm guessing that their number is not necessarily huge. But they're there. I asked the young man who worked in the little store if he'd seen any mantids. He said he usually saw them on the windows at night, perhaps hunting for insects that were attracted to the lights.
I will not be able to return to Death Valley until this fall at the earliest. I hope someone (Kit?)will find, photograph and post a picture of a DV mantis for me. (And any cool, big moth they might see, that might be from this caterpillar.)