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Monday, September 14, 2009

Monsters and Fairies

The fairies were still there today! I saw two more flying above the field. Yet, it is the sad truth that when the fairies come to rest it turns out that they are indeed the Tyrannosaurus Rex of the insect world. Who guessed it's identity? praying mantis on grass stem

I sure did not know that when a praying mantis flies that the undersides of its wings are white! Praying mantises are large insects, three or more inches long. They are vicious predators in the insect world. Larger species not native to the United States even eat small frogs and lizards. AND the female eats the male after mating! They will be happy to pinch or bite your fingers if you pick them up too.

The other choice I gave you yesterday was a Katydid. Katydid's are actually related to crickets. They can pinch or bite, but rarely do. I pick them up almost whenever I see them. They are a wonderful part of my childhood memories, even if they aren't fairies. Their name comes from the sound the males make by stridulation- rubbing together of their wings. I remember many summer evenings with the calls of "katy-did, katy-did-did-did" filtering through the screen door of the kitchen.

See A Fariy Tale in Green and White

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Chubskulit Rose said...

My daughter is very much fascinated with insects!

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WillOaks Studio said...

You're so lucky to have mantises in your area! They are so fascinating to watch and if we're lucky, we find one in a summer around here. And no, I didn't know that under their wings they are white--I can't recall that I've seen them fly!

VanillaSeven said...

Nice camouflage! Need few seconds to see what is actually hang there :)

rainfield61 said...

Same as me. I did not notice until I read about it.

Auntie E said...

I use to breed praying mantis for my garden. We have a few still around. They are wonderful for insect control. I remember hearing those Katydid's when I was younger. haven't heard them in a while. Of course nowadays we do not sleep with the windows open, allergy's you know.

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

Hi chubskulit- Thanks for stopping by. You have several interesting blogs.

WillOaks- we seem to have a LOT this year. I don't recall ever seeing so many in one week.

Vanilla & Rainfield- Yes, they seem to like to land upside down on plants. I've often seen them right side up on porch railings,etc, but they seem to know they are more hidden upside down on plants, maybe.

Auntie E- I once saw a whole nest of tiny mantises, each less than an inch long. Years ago... no camera at hand. I guess you can actually order them for insect control- so you must have been a supplier.


Julia said...

I wish we got praying mantis's here. Somehow they are missing... I am a wee bit envious of your buggies!

Rick (Ratty) said...

Great stuff about the praying mantis, especially the picture. I once saw a praying mantis on a box in a CVS drugstore. It was huge, almost six inches long! I thought it was a toy at first, and then it moved! The biggest insect I had ever seen.

Sharkbytes said...

Hi Julia- Well, I have to keep you on your toes. Really? No praying mantises in the west?

Ratty- I've often seen them on porch rails, boxes, places that don't offer any camouflage at all. I wonder if they just don't care, since they are pretty much at the top of the insect food chain?