A Panoply of Praying Mantises
Los Altos Hills, CA
November 2023

This year’s harvest of praying mantis sightings offered six different individuals. All females. One brown, the rest green, about 4-5 inches long. Mating season is happening now and is followed two weeks later by egg laying. After depositing her egg case, the female will die within a few days. The nymphs will hatch in the spring. I haven’t seen any of the much smaller, skinnier males but I am sure they are around.

For last year’s musings on the local praying mantises (Stagmomantis californica), go to my post: https://carlabrennan.com/meet-the-stagmomantis-californica/

What I didn’t mention in my previous post is the most well-known and peculiar behavior in praying mantises.The females sometimes eat the males during or after mating. They do this, it is believed, to gain extra protein for nourishing the growing eggs. What I didn’t know, until reading the PBS piece below, is that losing his head doesn’t always interfere with the male from actively going ahead with copulation.

The world of nature can be seemingly bizarre and is certainly fascinating!

And for more on the mantises strange sex life go to:
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/praying-mantis-hanky-panky-is-way-weirder-than-you-think

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