Subject: Eggbound California Mantid
Location: Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: November 11, 2017
We have been posting images of the female California Mantis that lived on our porch light for much of the early autumn season, including the 25,000th Posting on our site. She continued to thrive on the insects attracted to the porch light, and three weeks later we posted an image of her devouring a mature Bush Katydid. Two weeks later, we arrived home and she was not on the light, but she was perched below on the top of the broom handle, but something was clearly wrong. Her abdomen had burst and we saw what we at first thought might be larvae of a parasite, but we later presumed were her unlaid eggs, but what caused this trauma? Perhaps she fell from the light and burst open when she hit the ground. We suspected she would soon die, and we put her on a camelia in the garden. When we checked on her progress later in the evening, we found her bent double, licking her wound.
The next morning the Argentine Ants had discovered her and were crawling on her legs. We knew she would lose that encounter, so we moved her to a potted willow where she lived a few more days and eventually vanished, only to be discovered clinging to the side of the house, dead, her eggs never laid. We put her body in a protected location and we wonder if though unlaid, perhaps her eggs might hatch next spring, protected from the elements by her body instead of a frothy ootheca.