It was hard to get the Bug of the Week photograph this week because we've been having a lot of gusting wind. Wind tends to interfere both by causing the plant to move about and also causing the light to flicker as branches move by.
In fact I was downloading some plant photographs when I noticed this:
Do you see it? No, not the Thai basil plant, but the insect.
I admit I didn't see it until the photograph was on my computer screen. When I went back out, there it was.
Do you see it now?
This week we still are all aflutter with butterflies, but I thought I'd give you a break. Here's another insect we spotted this week.
Do you think this insect appreciates butterflies? 🙂
For our bug of the week last week we had a mystery: what is this?
Would you believe it is a praying mantis egg case? The female mantis laid her eggs inside a frothy mass of material, which hardened into this case.
It may not look familiar to you because it is made by an introduced species, the Mediterranean mantis, Iris oratoria. It is now found in California, Arizona and other warm states.
This is an interesting species because the insects tend to stay on one plant throughout much of their lives. We got to know individuals over last summer.
Here is the mother of those eggs. You can tell she's a female because her wings do not reach the end of her abdomen. She was the "desert milkweed mantis."
A male completed development on the Osage orange tree. That is his exoskeleton from when he molted.
He was very pretty. See how his wings go all the way down his back?
He was the only one that showed me the eye spots on the underwings that are characteristic of the species. See BugGuide for a photograph of a mantis showing eyespots.
This was our favorite. She was a beige/light brown color. It is not unusual for praying mantises to have some green and some brown individuals. ( She has a sharpshooter insect between her back legs. Its exoskeleton is also on the stem.)
I wrote a post about this beige one catching ants on my ant blog.
Now it is cold here and all the mantises are gone. We miss them. But with luck, the egg case will hatch into more next year.
Have you ever watched a praying mantis?