Thursday, May 03, 2012

A bounty of spring babies

In a typical spring season, I will see a high density of baby mantids in my Indian hawthorn plants. They have most likely drifted down from the crepe myrtle tree. This year has been no exception.

Little Brown Mantis
I found one second-instar Stagmomantis californica.

little mantis
There were several of the S. limbata. The fact that there are so many more of these larger, more aggressive mantids, makes me wonder if they are taking over the range of the californica. Or maybe just taking over my back yard.

tiny katydid
I am also finding a few of these tiny katydids. I recognize them as Mediterranean katydids, Phaneroptera nana. They feed on the fuzzy surface of the Indian hawthorn leaves. This particular nymph was less than 2 inches away from one of the little mantids, so I went back later to check on them both.

What's that over there?
At first, I only saw the mantis, and it seemed to be looking at something.

What's that over there?
It was the katydid. It had just shed its skin. Its new skin was still very pale, and its slow movements had attracted the mantid's attention. But the mantid apparently wasn't hungry enough to try to catch it.

I expect the bounty of little mantids and katydids to decrease over the weeks, as they go their separate ways, or get eaten by birds, spiders, lizards, or possibly each other.
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