Wednesday, 25 February 2009
Post#116 Mantis on the flyscreen (Archimantis latistyla)
Posted by Retarius at 4:18 pm
Yesterday I found a large brown mantis sitting on the outside of the flywire on my kitchen window. It was about 12 centimetres in length and its abdomen section was about a centimetre in diameter. I was quite surprised to see this critter; I haven't seen a large green or brown mantis in more than 10 years. It often happens that something disappears from sight and a long time passes before you notice its absence. Thus with the mantises. The only ones I've seen for a long while were puny little green ones - and not that many or often.
I took a cobweb broom, cornered the beast and goaded it into climbing onto the broom-head. I then carried it across the yard to a bush which would provide it with better hunting and cover from the birds that might like to feast on it. During the pickup phase of this operation the mantis' rear end curved up and appeared to be trying to engage the broom with the pincers at the end of its abdomen. I noticed a similarity between this feature and the pincer-tail of the earwig. The mantis, however, didn't appear to have much flexibility and made this manoeuvre quite slowly.
I don't know what sort of predator this would be effective against; perhaps these pincers are mostly used for helping it to cling to plants.