Subject: Mantid in pond water
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
August 1, 2017 10:09 am
Hello! All summer here in Jacksonville, FL, from May to August so far, I’ve been finding small (2-3″) black insects that look like skinny praying mantises in my green, algae-filled pond. There are no fish, just various kinds of water bugs and tadpoles.
I removed the first couple, thinking they had blown in with the wind, but I keep finding more, every few days. They seem quite at home underwater, swimming around, and if I or my dog’s nose get too close, they calmly dive and swim out of sight.
I’ve been quite baffled. I used to keep fat green praying mantises as pets in southern Georgia as a kid, and got used to finding their egg cases attached to sticks. I couldn’t fathom mantises breeding and/or living underwater…. or laying eggs in water, perhaps going through a nymph phase of some kind, then developing into what you see in the pictures.
Hope you can help me understand what I’ve got, and advise me on whether I should be removing them to the bushes on sight, or leaving them to their business!
Signature: John in NE Florida
Though it resembles a Mantid, this Water Scorpion is actually an unrelated True Bug. Adult Water Scorpions have wings so they can fly from pond to pond. Handle with caution. Water Scorpions are reported to have a painful bite.