Babies are not just for the birds…

gravid praying mantisContinuing the species isn’t a job for the house wrens only (see previous post). A pregnant (“gravid”) praying mantis is pictured here. Fifth-graders in Mrs. Wahl’s class alerted greenBELVEDERE to the expectant insect, who was on the outside of one of their classroom windows. The mantis body alone, not counting those spindly legs, measured about 4 inches long. You can see its swollen abdomen (click on the image to enlarge it). Given that it was walking on the bricks and window, not in the milkweed and mountain mint just below, chances are good that it was looking for a place to lay eggs in a foamy liquid. The foam will harden, protecting the eggs over the winter, and 30-300 eggs will hatch in the warmer temps of early spring. Many thanks to Mrs. Baxter for rushing to the scene with her camera!

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