Welcome predators in our garden – preying mantis

Welcome predators in our garden – preying mantis

Wonderful to find a preying mantis. Not sure why a male one came inside so we took it back preying mantis male with wings sitting on a handout in the veggie garden in the New Zealand spinach patch.
Late autumn and the males (which have narrow abdomen compared to the females) grow wings [like this one has].
He is sitting on the back of a hand watching us as we moved him. Then he didn’t want to get off so he was gently encouraged to move on to a leaf.

preying mantis egg case in the space between bricks in a house wall
preying mantis egg case in the space between bricks in a house wall

The females have a much wider, fatter abdomen and lay their eggs into a special case to protect them through the winter. They attach the cases to some protected place and we find them in the spaces between bricks in the house wall.

 

preying mantis baby, new hatched, climbing on bird-netting
preying mantis baby, new hatched, climbing on bird-netting

A preying mantis is so good at eating small pests so we love finding them around and carefully put them where the pest populations are greatest.

These newly hatched baby preying mantis we found climbing up the bird-netting around a garden bed. They were less than 1 cm [1/2 inch] long – so tiny! Yet they are great predators of all tiny pests.

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