April 24, 2021
We're reaching into the archives for today's #BenInNature update presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust! The following post was originally published on June 15, 2020.
Keep an eye peeled in the spring, because you're liable to see some tiny praying mantids!
This mantid is probably a Carolina Mantis (Stagmomantis carolina), according to VMNH Associate Curator of Invertebrate Zoology Dr. Kal Ivanov. This species is fairly common and can be found throughout much of North America, Central America, and South America.
It's often difficult to identify the Carolina mantis by color alone, because this species can vary from brown to green to gray. When the juveniles molt (shed their old exoskeleton), they adjust their color to better match their surroundings and blend into their environment!
If you find a mantid in your garden, you're in luck. These guys are voracious predators and are a fantastic ally, because they'll eat a ton of garden pests. You can even purchase Carolina mantis ootheca (egg cases) to release baby mantids into your garden. Just be sure you don't buy the ootheca of the Chinese mantis; while that species is also a great garden predator, it's an invasive species.
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends. This series of posts is made possible thanks to the support of VMNH Corporate Partner Carter Bank & Trust (www.cbtcares.com).
NATURE PHOTO IDENTIFICATIONS
If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!