November 4, 2011
Earlier this week I saw my first praying mantis in the North Campus! I was walking back from lunch at USC and there she was right in front of me on the path.
Female Mediterranean Mantid, Iris oratoria, running for coverI knew she was a female because of her enlarged abdomen, males have much narrower abdomens and also longer wings. As I got really close to her to capture this picture, she went into her defensive posture. She reared up on her hind legs, extended her raptorial (modified for capturing prey) front legs, and flashed her brightly patterned black and yellow hind wings. She stayed in this posture for about 15 seconds and then ran for cover in the plantings. Hopefully she'll lay an egg case and we'll have baby mantids in the spring!
Mediterranean Mantid defensive posture (image courtesy of What's That Bug website)