Sunday, 4 April 2010

The Praying Mantis

On Thursday, 1 April 2010, I had to go off to Northgate, then stop off at work to do some printing and faxing as my printer and fax machine was not working and had no ink.

After Chad locked the gate, as he walked to the car he saw a praying mantis on the passenger front window.  Not liking creepy crawlies of any kind, he tried to chase it off the window and I told him to just get in the car as the little thing was harmless.

As we neared Northgate we saw the poor little thing hanging on for dear life on the windscreen.  It was quite funny as we made up stories about the little creature.

I decided she was a mom, who was frantically praying to get back to her little children and had no idea where she was or what would happen to her children.  There she was kneeling in the "praying" position, front legs folded just like a human would.

Chad decided it was a naughty teenager who had run away from home to go on an adventure, but was now scared because he did not know where he was - good lesson there - don't wonder from home on your own.

We stopped at Northgate  and there she/he was still clinging onto the windscreen for dear life.

We went off to the bank, not expecting our little story friend to still be there but there she/he was still holding on for dear life.

Off we drove to work, with her still clinging on for dear life, we stopped and parked the car and she promptly flew off the car.

Chad decided that is where it came from and had jumped onto my car the day before and hitched a ride back.  Lets hope that is true - poor little thing.

The praying mantis is named for its prominent front legs, which are bent and held together at an angle that suggests the position of prayer. The larger group of these insects is more properly called the praying mantids. Mantis refers to the genus mantis, to which only some praying mantids belong.

By any name, these fascinating insects are formidable predators. They have triangular heads poised on a long "neck," or elongated thorax. Mantids can turn their heads 180 degrees to scan their surroundings with two large compound eyes and three other simple eyes located between them.

Typically green or brown and well camouflaged on the plants among which they live, mantis lie in ambush or patiently stalk their quarry. They use their front legs to snare their prey with reflexes so quick that they are difficult to see with the naked eye. Their legs are further equipped with spikes for snaring prey and pinning it in place.

Moths, crickets, grasshoppers, flies, and other insects are usually the unfortunate recipients of unwanted mantid attention. However, the insects will also eat others of their own kind. The most famous example of this is the notorious mating behavior of the adult female, who sometimes eats her mate just after—or even during—mating. Yet this behavior seems not to deter males from reproduction.

Females regularly lay hundreds of eggs in a small case, and nymphs hatch looking much like tiny versions of their parents.

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