Saturday, October 3, 2009

'Praying' for spring?

It is the season of the Praying Mantis (Mantis religiosa) and I look forward to seeing these alien creatures each fall. For if there is not proof that extraterrestrials have visited the earth, surely it is right here in these strange insects.

Mom and I went to Miss Molly's Bakery & Cafe in Farmersville for breakfast and I parked near the bank. When we came out (about 9 a.m.) this mantis was sitting on the driver's door. I gave him a quick examination before climbing into the car - mostly to make sure he wouldn't fall into the crack of the door - and drove off, sure that the wind would blow him away. But when we arrived home, he was still clinging to the shiny surface.

Oddly, the creature has only been in the United States for 110 years. It was introduced on nursery stock from Europe in 1899 (technically, the Praying Mantis is the European Mantid). Considered a "beneficial predator", the Praying Mantis will feast on other insects. The trouble is, it will also feast on others of his same species.
Once we arrived home, I picked the insect up and deposited him on the limb of a Blue Spruce. He turned his head, looked up at me with almost a "thanks!" and scrambled up the branch. I suppose he is by now having lunch.
Come to think of it, that's a good thing to do.