Thursday, September 9, 2010

Flower Mantids

I took two flower mantids away from Daxton's kitten tonight, the second about five minutes after the first. I don't know how or why they came in the house, but they've been hunting bugs outside our front door every night for at least a week. I didn't see any damage when I looked them over (not an easy task).

The first time I notice one (about a week ago), I thought a praying mantid was eating a butterfly and wondered what kind of butterfly it was. I'd never seen a butterfly with such beautiful pink and green markings. So, I broke off a bit of grass and moved the mantid with it to get a better look. It flew onto my pants, and I realized why I'd never seen a butterfly with those markings. Ben very cooly informed me there were two of them and went back to reading MOCKINGJAY.

Now I'm wondering why I've never seen a flower mantid. I'm not even sure they're native to our area, but that's what they are. After I showed the strange looking mantid to the kiddos, Daxton ran to look it up in his favorite book, SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION: ANIMAL.
Animal: The Definitive Visual Guide to the World's Wildlife
It's a rare day that goes by without his opening this book. He found flower mantids listed above common praying mantids on page 555, and after reading descriptions for both, we had a name for our mantids. If I manage to get a picture of their wings spread, I'll post it. They have ruby red eyes, a golden crown up around their antennae, and their spikes and mandibles are bronze. I've never seen such metallic looking mantids. And then they have fairy princess wings. I couldn't let the cat eat them.

I searched the internet for almost an hour, looking for a picture or video of mantids that looked like ours, but so far I haven't found one. This video shows a different type of flower mantid, if you're interested.

Have you ever seen a flower mantid?


  1. What a cool thing to find in your backyard! I've never seen anything like what you're describing before. We always had praying manti (plural?) in our backyard growing up, but I've never seen a mantis that isn't the standard yellow-green.

  2. I never have! But I would definitely like to. Thanks for filling me in on this new (to me) variety.


  3. Wow, those are amazing. I've never seen one - didn't even know they existed.

    I did, however, find a 6-inch long scorpion in my backyard the other day. Thankfully it was dead, but it was still creepy.

  4. That is really neat! I have never seen one either, thanks for the information. I have seen a preying mantis, but these are much prettier!

  5. Those are so very cool!!! I have never seen one, but now I'm curious. Admittedly, my expertise lies with mammals, birds, and reptiles, and I've always felt handicapped that I know so little about insects.

    Time to go and google more about them! Thanks! :o)

  6. Oh! And I wanted to give Daxton my favorite online animal encyclopedia:

    They'll never steer him wrong and it's very comphrensive. :o)


  7. That is so cool, Myrna! I have never seen one. Are they common in most areas of the U.S.?

  8. I've always liked the regular ones too, Krista.

    You're welcome, Sue!

    That is creepy, Rorie, but at least it wasn't in your house.

    You're welcome, Maile!

    Jackee, thanks for the online animal encyclopedia!I was hoping you could tell me more about the flower mantids. All I could find was that people seem to keep them as pets and that they're found in tropical places. Logandale isn't tropical.

    I wish I knew, Julie. I consider myself an observant person, and I've never seen one before last week.

  9. I've never seen one and this is the first time I've heard of them. Bugs usually creep me out, but they're beautiful.

  10. Nope, I've never even heard of a flower mantid! Are they poisonous?!!?!? They look creepy with all their...appendages.