Posts Tagged ‘mantis’

Chinese Mantis ootheca

January 20, 2016

Another insect ootheca was spotted at a vernal pool located near the terminus of the Hike-Bike TrailHuntley Meadows Park. This is a Chinese Mantis (Tenodera sinensis) egg case, as indicated by the distinctive roundish shape of the ootheca. Chinese Mantis is a non-native species.

An insect ootheca spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This is a Chinese Mantis (Tenodera sinensis) egg case.

14 JAN 2016 | Huntley Meadows Park | Chinese Mantis ootheca

The Backstory: It was my good fortune to observe a controlled burn at Huntley Meadows Park on 14 January 2016. One of the target fields is located near the “accidental vernal pool,” my nickname for one of several vernal pools at the end of the Hike-Bike Trail. While I was in the neighborhood, I decided to look around for Autumn Meadowhawks in the hope of extending the state record late-date for dragonflies. Although I didn’t see any dragonflies, I spotted another Chinese Mantis egg case located near two other oothecae observed on 03 January.

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Oothecae

January 10, 2016

A couple of insect oothecae (sing. ootheca) were spotted while searching for Autumn Meadowhawk dragonflies at a vernal pool located near the terminus of the Hike-Bike Trail, Huntley Meadows Park.

An insect ootheca spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This may be a mantis egg case.

03 JAN 2016 | Huntley Meadows Park | insect ootheca (egg case)

These oothecae may be mantis egg cases.

An insect ootheca spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This may be a mantis egg case.

03 JAN 2016 | Huntley Meadows Park | insect ootheca (egg case)

Post Update: Several members of the BugGuide Facebook group confirmed that these are in fact mantis egg cases. Group member Beatriz Moisset identified the species as Chinese Mantis (Tenodera sinensis), as indicated by the distinctive roundish shape of the oothecae. Chinese Mantis is a non-native species.

Introduced from China in 1896 to combat pests. It outcompetes many of the native preying mantises, which are in decline. Source Credit: Species Tenodera sinensis – Chinese Mantis, BugGuide.

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Mystery mantis (male)

February 16, 2014

I photographed some type of mantis during a photowalk through Huntley Meadows Park last fall. It was like a scene from the movie Alien — there was this creepy-looking orange thing twitching back-and-forth at the end of the mantis’ abdomen that seemed to have a mind of its own. OK, I may have used hyperbole to convey what I saw but it freaked me out a little!

Unknown mantis (male)

Over 20 species are native to the United States, including the common Carolina Mantis, with only one native to Canada. Two species (the Chinese Mantis and the European Mantis) were deliberately introduced to serve as pest control for agriculture, and have spread widely in both countries. Source Credit: Mantis (Wikipedia).

Question is, what type of mantis did I see? Experts disagree.

With location, maybe we can safely ID it. It is clearly not the native [Carolina Mantis] Stagmomantis. Could be the European species, but BugGuide has no records of it for Virginia, or any state south of Delaware. So that leaves the Chinese Mantis, Tenodera sinensis. The only hesitation I have is that Delaware is not terribly far from Virginia, and the Euro mantis is widely sold to gardeners and also capable of hitching rides in shipments of plants, hay, or whatever. The Chinese mantis is generally larger than the Euro, but the only really firm, non-relative ID character separating the two (as far as I know) is the black-and-white eyespot between the Euro’s forelimbs. Source Credit: Joshua Stuart Rose, member of the BugGuide group on Facebook.

There are also two more subtle features, involving the relative width of the head versus pronotum, and the spination of the front femora — in both features, your photo more resembles [European Mantis] Mantis religiosa, and it’s a male. Source Credit: Doug Yanega, member of the BugGuide group on Facebook.

As you can see, the identity of the mantis is an unsolved mystery!

The two antenna-like structures visible at the tip of the mantis’ orange-colored abdomen are cerci (terminal appendages), body parts that are well known to dragonfly enthusiasts like me. The cerci are visible in every photo in the following gallery.

Copyright © 2014 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.


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