Just out: praying mantises

We’re still waiting for rain but the warmth and humidity seem to be encouraging some insects to emerge anyway. I wrote about cicadas a few days ago, and on Sunday I spotted first one, then a dozen, tiny praying mantises on the railing of our back stairs. Here’s one:

very young praying mantis
Giving thanks for a safe emergence?

The picture is much larger than the mantis, which was only 8 – 10 mm long.

Figuring that there had to be a good reason for a group of infants to be together like that, I looked around and found their egg-case (ootheca) glued beneath the railing:

The egg-case or ootheca, with the popped cell-lids dangling from it
The ootheca, with the popped cell-lids dangling from it.

P.S. Here is an older nymph – more than twice the size – a fortnight later. I’m pretty sure it’s not one of these babies grown up, though, because it was too far away.

P.P.S. (Dec 28): The nymph I linked to now seems certain (as I have observed its development) to have been a different species of mantis from the one pictured above.