Subject: Small non-flying mantid in the Oregon high desert
Geographic location of the bug: Ochoco National Forest, Oregon, USA
Time: 07:17 PM EDT
I found this mantid about an hour after the Great American Eclipse ended (mid-day) on August 21st, 2017. The location was the Oregon Star Party in the Ochoco National Forest, Oregon, USA at 44.298775°N 120.141648°W. The altitude was about 5,000 ft and the terrain was the high desert of central Oregon (open rocky area surrounded by forest).
The mantid did not fly. It skittered along the ground very quickly and was difficult to keep up with. I have been unable to find any information on a mantid that lives in the high desert of Oregon. As you can see it was very small. Maybe an inch long.
(I got an “entity too large” the first time I submitted this so here we go with cropped pics)
How you want your letter signed: Tommy
Based on this BugGuide image, we are quite confident that this is a Ground Mantid in the genus Litaneutria, and according to BugGuide, they are “Less than 35mm long.” Of the species Litaneutria minor, BugGuide notes: “In Canada: known only from the dry grasslands of British Columbia in the extreme southern Okanagan Valley near Oliver and Osoyoos. In the U.S.: widespread; from Colorado and Arizona to Mexico, northwest to California, north to Dakota, and occasionally to Texas.” BugGuide also recognizes: “Very difficult to capture.” The species is pictured on the Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia. According to Good Garden Bugs: “Ground mantids are unique in that instead of adopting the typical sit-and-wait predatory strategy of most mantids, these active hunters stalk their prey on the ground. … Litaneutria minor is commonly called the agile ground mantid because they can be found running swiftly along the ground in search of prey. They are found in the sesert southwest, eastern California, Oregon and Washington and are 3/4 tp 1 1/4 inches (2 to 3 cm) in length. They are also found in southwestern Canada and are the only native Canadian mantid.” This is not only our first posting of the New Year, we are also making it the Bug of the Month for January 2018.