Posts Tagged: praying mantis
The last time we encountered a praying mantis it was waiting for prey on a plant by the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis.
Then we saw two more that day in front of the Laidlaw facility. They jumped on us while we were watching the first one.
Surely we didn't look like prey!
Staff research associate/beekeeper Elizabeth Frost tends the garden in front and notices many of the stealthy little critters. They're perfectly camouflaged and ready to pounce.
The egg cases she earlier saw have hatched. One little, two little, three little mantids....
And probably many more.
They stay because the area is a good source of food--honey bees, sweat bees, butterflies, hover flies...
Those praying mantids grab unsuspecting--and sometimes quite slow--prey in their spiked forelegs and it's off with the head. Fast food it is. Fast food in the slow food movement....
Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology peers at a praying mantis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Praying mantis climbs on the back of Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Well, hello there!
A praying mantis, perfectly camouflaged in bushes outside the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at the University of California, Davis, was searching for prey when we spotted it. Front legs upraised in a "praying position," head twisting, eyes turning, it waited motionlessly for lunch.
Also called a mantid (order Mantodea), the praying mantis is a favorite of insect photographers. A close-up of the mouth and the "spiky" forelegs (used for grasping prey) make you really appreciate what this insect can do and make you glad you're not another insect.
This one (below) was immature. Tomorrow we'll show you shots of it landing on a human being.
Praying mantis exploring its surroundings at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Acrobatic praying mantis in action. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The last thing the prey of a praying mantis sees. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
It was not a good day to "stop and smell the roses."
A vespid wasp apparently lingered too long on a rose--perhaps dropping by for a sip of nectar or seeking unsuspecting prey.
What it found was another predator, a praying mantis looking for breakfast.
The scenario unfolded last week in the Storer Garden at the University of California, Davis.
The mantid grasped the wasp in its spiked forelegs and methodically began to consume it.
It bit into the head first, thorax next, and then snatched a wing.
All that was left: a wing and a prayer.
On a Wing and a Prayer
No honey bees. Let them bee.
This week we watched a praying mantis slide beneath a purple coneflower (Echinacea pupurea) at the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility of University of California, Davis.
Its body camouflaged, the mantid looked like one of the coneflower petals.
Within minutes, it seized an unsuspecting honey bee.
Death beneath the purple coneflower.
It's a well-equipped predator, with keen eyesight, a rotating head, and two spiked forelegs that grab and grasp unsuspecting prey. It's not about "who's coming to dinner"; it's "what's coming to dinner."
Plus, it appears to "pray" before dinner. How disconcerting to the prey.
This praying mantis (below) was hanging out this week at the front entrance of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at the University of California, Davis.
It was perusing the menu: tasty sweat bees, succulent hover flies, luscious butterflies, piquant ants and yes--savory honey bees--an all-you-can-eat buffet.
Fortunately, it didn't head over to the apiary, where the beekeepers tend 110 hives, each with approximately 60,000 bees, or a total of more than six million bees.
Thanks a million.
On the Hunt