Gathan Beaga

after three dozen we lost count...

Mantis babies, we’re talking about.

Though we never did get around to removing the mantis ootheca (egg case) from the car – it’s still there now – Rebecca did find another one on a piece of rosemary she’d pruned back in Autumn; and since then it’s been sitting on the windowsill.

Finally, this week there was some action.

Mantis hatchlings

On Thursday when the blind was rolled up for the morning the sill was aswarm with about a dozen little mantises. Two got squashed flat in the roller blind, where they remain (I must get them out of there), but Rebecca and the girls released the rest outside.

Mantis hatchlingsThey noticed a colour change occurring: when newly hatched, the mantises are a sort of translucent green; but over a couple hours they darken up and gain their juvenile brown stripe down their back.

On Friday: another six new mantises, and the girls took three each to school to show their friends and release there.

On Saturday: another six or so. One problem we didn’t think about with having the windowsill as a hatching space is spray residue from years of using flyspray there, not that we use much of the stuff. Worse was when they dropped to the floor by the french doors, a well used ant pathway and consequently fairly heavily sprayed by us over time. Any small mantis wandering there we would see die in about half an hour. Not so good.

Also problematical indoors: our other wandering fauna. At the moment there is a large black armed jumping spider roaming the area, who would like nothing better than mantis for breakfast. Not to mention the inevitable Pholcus that seem to be impossible to get rid of.

So I gathered our babies up fairly quickly and took them outside.

Mantis hatchlings

On Sunday: no new mantises. But today, there were another fourteen. These too, are now outside. Not that outside is any safer for them, but at least there’s no flyspray there.

The ootheca looks empty now. But I’m still wondering how so many managed to be packed in there!

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