ants swarming over mantis
Location: Albuquerque, NM
October 25, 2010 8:51 pm
Thanks for identifying the blister beetle picture I sent in a few weeks ago. Today I found a mantis being swarmed by ants on the north side of Albuquerque, NM. The mantis was struggling and flopping around a bit but I couldn’t tell if the ants were biting it or not. Is this a common occurrence? I found one flickr image of ants feeding on a dead and somewhat dismembered mantis in Spain, but no other information. I also didn’t find any example of this type of observation on your site. My hypothesis is that the mantis was sluggish from the cold morning and overpowered by the ants. Thanks very much!
We suspect that this Mantis may have been injured, though perhaps you are correct that it was just sluggish from the cool weather. Ants often forage in hoards and they will not hesitate to begin gathering food for the colony from a still living creature. We wish your photo had a higher resolution and that we were able to ascertain the identity of the ant species. They look very small and perhaps they are nonnative. Invasive Ant species like the Argentine Ants in Southern California and the Gulf States are severely affecting biodiversity by replacing native species and we cannot underestimate the long term effects they may have on sensitive ecosystems.
Thanks for getting back to me. I’ve attached the full resolution pictures in case the ants can be identified. By the way, is the mantis a Mediterranean Mantis? Thanks!
On a second look at mantis pictures, it looks more like a California Mantid, Stagmomantis californica. Is this right?
Thanks Matt. We are inclined to agree that this does appear to be a California Mantis, or possibly the closely related Stagmomantis limbata which is profiled on BugGuide. At any rate, the Mantis is a female.