Currently viewing the category: "Preying Mantis"

Subject:  Sunflower Fruit Fly and immature California Mantis on Cannabis
Geographic location of the bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 07/15/2021
Time: 09:39 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman,
As you know, we are having muggy weather in Los Angeles and the humidity seems to bring out more bugs.  My “girls” of 2021 are starting to show their stigmas and they are beginning to attract new insects.  I don’t have any identification requests for you today, but I wanted to submit a new photo of the pretty Fruit Fly you identified as Paracantha cultaris in 2019.  It is on a first generation plant (a genie) from a seed that I found on the Kernal Kush I grew last year.  The flies really like my Cannabis, and you assured me they will not harm my plants, and that they actually are associated with sunflowers which are always growing near the Cannabis.  I think it is sad that this pretty fly doesn’t have a common name and I would like to suggest Sunflower Fruit Fly.
I also eagerly await the appearance of immature California Mantids on my plants and I’m including an image of an inch long individual on my favorite strain Woodhead, and this is the fifth year I have grown plants descended from the original Woodhead I grew in 2017.  Once again, it is so nice to see you posting again.
How you want your letter signed:  Constant Gardener

Sunflower Fruit Fly

Dear Constant Gardener,
Thanks for your kind words.  It is curious that this distinctive fly does not have a common name and Sunflower Fruit Fly does seem very appropriate in light of BugGuide’s comment:  “breeds in
Helianthus annuus” which is identified on CalScape as simply Sunflower.  Also, thanks for being so conscious of native insects in your horticultural endeavors.

Immature California Mantid

Subject:  Young Mantids
Geographic location of the bug:  Campbell, Ohio
Date: 08/02/2020
Time: 6:05 PM EDT
Last November, while in Ohio, Daniel cleared some brush from his mother’s garden, and he discovered several Mantis oothecae on twigs and other places, including this tomato cage.  Daniel moved the tomato cage with the attached ootheca closer to the house where his mother grows potted plants each year.

Probably Chinese Mantis Ootheca

Earlier in July, Daniel’ mother informed him she saw two Mantids among her petunias and the other potted plants, and when Daniel arrived late in July, they were still there, very well camouflaged and prowling among the blossoms.

Immature, probably Chinese Mantid

Immature, probably Chinese Mantis

Subject:  Immature Mantis Patrolling my 2020 Crop
Geographic location of the bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 06/16/2020
Time: 12:35 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Welcome Back Bugman
I really missed you during the early days of COVID-19 and I’m glad you have returned to making postings.  I don’t have an identification.  I just wanted you to see the young Mantis I recently discovered patrolling for prey on one of my 2020 plants, Purple Jane
How you want your letter signe:  Constant Gardener

Young Mantis on Young Cannabis

Dear Constant Gardener,
We are happy to be back as well.  That Mantis is really well camouflaged on your healthy looking plant.

Subject:  Katydid, Cricket or Alien?
Geographic location of the bug:  South west Jordan, Middle East
Date: 11/12/2019
Time: 06:04 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I have trawled the net to identify this bug I photographed on October 14 this year without result, can you assist please.
Insect was about 1″ long, in dry stony desert habitat.
Not perfect photos due to high ISO as getting dark.
How you want your letter signed:  Paul Lathbury, Nuneaton, U.K.

Desert Mantis: Eremiaphila species

Dear Paul,
This fascinating insect looked to us like a Mantid, and we located this unidentified, similar looking individual in
this Smithsonian posting.  We feel confident it is in the genus Eremiaphila after visiting Mantids and More .  On USMantis we learned:  “RARE AND UNUSUAL DESERT MANTIS Requires hot dry environment. The desert mantis is able to camouflage so well into its habitat. They live molt and lay ooths in the sand. They thrive in the most unforgivable environment in the desert where temperatures reach well over 100F and extremely dry.

Desert Mantis: Eremiaphila species

Hi Daniel,
That’s great thanks. I agree with your identification now that I have a reference to search on. I did see the Smithsonian posting and it is extremely similar.
Thanks again,

Subject:  Dry husk stuck on rock
Geographic location of the bug:  San Luis Obispo, California
Date: 10/11/2019
Time: 06:33 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman: I found this dry husklike thing on a rock in my front yard.  I pulled it off, but didn’t;t learn anything.  I know it was once either part of some living thing, or it contained or was shielding something living.  Please help!
How you want your letter signed:  Yours, Kathy O’Brien

Mantis Ootheca

Dear Kathy,
This is the ootheca or egg case of a Preying Mantis, and it does not look like it has hatched yet.  Mantids only live a single season, hatching when conditions are right in the late winter or early spring and they mature by autumn.  The female Mantis then lays one or more ootheca that will overwinter.  If you put this ootheca in a sheltered location, or try to attach it to a branch on a tree or shrub, it might still hatch this spring.  Daniel just realized there is no Bug of the Month posting for October 2019, as he neglected to create one at the beginning of the month, so this posting will be tagged as Bug of the Month.  Daniel noticed two native Mantis oothecae in the garden in the past week, so perhaps he will take some images and add to this posting.

California Mantis ootheca on native willow

Update October 15, 2019:  Two California Mantis Oothecae in the WTB? garden
When Daniel returned from work yesterday, he made a point of taking images of the two California Mantis oothecae he found over the weekend.  Though adult Mantids did not make may late season appearances in the garden, they were obviously hiding quite well as the two oothecae are far enough apart to evidence they were likely laid by two different females.

California Mantis ootheca on pine

Subject:  Unknown Mantis at work
Geographic location of the bug:  Johnson city, tx
Date: 09/26/2019
Time: 12:23 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hey! I found what I believe to be two green European Mantids at my place of work a couple weeks ago but this morning I found this dark colored mantis hunting a fly. I’m not sure if it’s just a color variant of the same species or something different? I also will attach pics of my self identified Eurpean Mantids because I’m not 100% on my ID. Thanks!
How you want your letter signed:  Lisa Keys

Female Carolina Mantis

Dear Lisa,
We agree with your identification of the European Mantid which can be distinguished from Chinese Mantids which have striped faces as indicated in this BugGuide image.  Your image of a female European Mantis does not show the distinguishing black spot or black spot with a white bull’s eye where the foreleg meets the body on the ventral surface as indicated on BugGuide.  The darker Mantid in question is a female Carolina Mantis, a smaller native species.  Both European Mantids and Chinese Mantids can be purchased as ootheca or egg cases for gardeners who want to control insects without spraying, which is a noble idea, however, both species are much larger than native Mantids that they will prey upon.  We do not endorse introducing non-native Mantids to the garden as we promote the preservation of native species.  Here is a BugGuide image of a Carolina Mantid.

Female European Mantis

Interesting! I thought it might be a Carolina mantis but she was so big, around 3-3.5 inches, that it threw me off a bit. I currently keep these guys as work pets since I knew the first was a non native species at least. I’m sure keeping one or two doesnt have much effect on their population if they are already in the area but I have always enjoyed keeping and caring for mantids even when I was younger. Thanks for your help!