Praying Mantis

My tiny balcony garden is home to many species. Most of them are pests destroying my fruits of hard work. Some of my spare time goes into tending the plants and watering them. And this incident happened a few months back.

We saw this Praying Mantis perched on the wall so gracefully. All of us crowded around her, but she didn’t budge from that place or pose. Downloading the shots we noticed the bulge, it was quite unusual from the other pictures of Praying Mantis we saw in our Google search. My daughters were confident it was going to lay eggs.

Next day morning my daughters rushed to see whether the Praying Mantis was still there. It. Was. There. Out came the camera and click, click, click they went. They downloaded immediately to see if the shots came out well, they didn’t want to take any chance. The shots came out well. One look at the Praying Mantis’s face we decided not to disturb her at her most private moment.

Do you know their heads are flexible, permitting 300 degrees of movement, allowing a great range of vision?

The Praying Mantis was still laying eggs in to the egg case. We kept a watch on her from a distance. After her job was done, she flew off without turning back to see her egg case even once. After that day it was a patient ‘wait and observe’ for the next few weeks. Lot of reading and study went on: how long does it take for the babies to come popping out of the ootheca? What if they are at school then? I was given the responsibility of guarding it.

Then one day when the kids were at school, almost six weeks later, I noticed three tiny ones moving around. OMG! They have hatched! At least twenty five to thirty babies are expected from one ootheca. Have the others escaped? I was imagining how disappointed the kids would be to know the babies hatched in their absence. Rushed for my camera, placed one of them in my palm and here is one precious shot.

Camera Critters
Aero India 2009, Bangalore
Camel's Eyes

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