Saturday, August 13, 2011

Chocolate-brown at sunset, pale tan soon after sunrise.

It's Praying Mantis season in Ijamsville, MD, and my mom sent me this wonderful photo she took of a lovely individual hanging out in her garden. A spin through Bug Guide makes me think this is a Chinese Mantis, which was introduced as a form of pest control to the US in the late 1800s. (This shot looks particularly close, especially the thorax and wing patterns.) Whether it's a lady or gentleman is up for debate. If I'm correct about the species, this critter's compound eyes are, according to Bug Guide, "chocolate-brown at sunset, pale tan soon after sunrise and during the day." How poetic! (Mama, keep an eye on this guy's peepers!)

Photo by Katy Oldham.

Update: My parents found that this mantid's eyes do indeed turn a deep brown in the evening!! This particular individual has staked out a spot in the yard to call home and appears in the same place every day, giving my parents a chance to really observe behaviors and changes. Here are a couple shots of our friend's dusky eyes...

 (photo by Nile--eyes darkening)

(photo by Katy--this one's a little blurry due to low light, but you can really see how dark those eyes get)


  1. I like the poetic eye color line! I think you are right about this being the Chinese mantis. The Carolina mantis I'm used to seeing are much smaller and grayer in coloring.

  2. I need to figure out what causes that change in color--so weird and cool! I guess the Carolina Mantis is probably in MD as well. What a treat to find these guys around. I have't seen a mantis here in Eugene yet, but I know they must be around...