Make My Day: Trio of Carolina Mantids, we believe

Subject: Mantids, cicadas, grasshoppers galore
Location: Texas Panhandle near Palo Duro Canyon
November 21, 2015 11:00 pm
Hey Bugman!
We had a ridiculously wet winter and spring this year in the Texas Panhandle, so there was basically a plague of bugs and amphibians through the summer and fall. The variety blew my mind! I was sorting through my photos and picked a few of my favorites to share with the WTB community. I feel fairly confident about the species of mantids, the Carolina, Chinese and European, but I have no idea about the grasshoppers or cicadas.
Signature: Brittani Hinders

Carolina Mantids, male in the middle.
Carolina Mantids, male in the middle.

Good Evening Brittani,
Your image of the trio of Mantids on your hand with that rock is just about the most stunning Buggy Accessory image we have ever received.  We promote friendly interactions between insects and people and we like the idea of live insects as occasional fashion accessories, but not in a commercial way.  This image really made the day of our editorial staff.
We actually believe all three individual in the image are of the same species,
Stagmomantis carolina, based on images we found posted to BugGuide where it states:  “Head and thorax almost as long as the body. Antennae about half as long as middle legs. Pale green to brownish grey, often inconspicuous on vegetation. Males usually brown, females green or brown. Wings do not extend to tip of abdomen, especially in female. (Females apparently flightless, or nearly so.) Abdomen of female strongly widened in middle. Tegmina (outer wings) are broad, reaching apical third of the abdomen, with a stigmatic (dark) black patch.”  This BugGuide identification trait “The facial shield (plate below antennal insertion and between the eyes) is relatively long and narrow in Stagmomantis, more squarish in Tenodera sinensis” is especially evident in the green individual in your image who resembles this BugGuide image.  The victimized male in that image and the one represented in this BugGuide image look like the slender individual perched on your middle finger.  Finally the third individual positioned on your pinkie looks like this brown female posted to BugGuide.
We really need to split your submission into three distinct postings, as we want to create numerous links to accommodate your sly tactic of increasing the number of image files that can be attached to the submission form.  Additionally, multiple insect orders or families in the same submission is out of harmony with our archiving aesthetic.  More later.

Thank you so much! Seeing my photos on WTB makes MY day, I’m really thrilled that you guys enjoyed the mantids. I’m also happy to be wrong. It hadn’t occurred to me that so much variety could come from one species, and that in itself is just as good as finding three different kinds. I’ve attached a few more shots for your amusement. They were quite good little models! Although, mantids are my favorite bugs, so my opinion might be a little biased.
As for the Spotted Bird grasshopper, I think you’re definitely right about them faking being toxic. Either that or my dogs, who spent all summer catching and chowing down on them, have iron stomachs. They weren’t the most prevalent hoppers out in the yard, but they certainly were the largest.
Looking forward to hearing about the cicadas! It was lovely hearing them sing from the tops of our locust trees. One of the loudest summers ever! They were still surprisingly difficult to spot despite how many there must have been.
Thanks again! You guys rock. I threw in a couple bonus photos of a jumping spider eating a black widow.

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