Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ninja Mantis of the Rose Garden

I was out watering the garden, yesterday, and I'm usually very careful about where I aim the hose, but I didn't see any little creatures on my white bush rose. No honeybees, bumblebees or spiders were anywhere in sight. The sun was shinning warmly across the front porch and I was thinking that I needed to prune some of the spent roses because they were looking rather sad. As I watered, my mind was planning things like where the Narcissus and Daffodil bulbs should be planted sometime this month, what plants I should just pull out because they struggle so much every summer and when I would have time to sand and refinish the porch that desperately needs some stain on it. So many things need to be done before winter sets in. November is a good month here, for projects. The rains will, hopefully, come but before they do, I have many gardening things that have to be done.

So , as I'm filling my head with all of these ideas and thoughts, I didn't pay attention to the hose and where I was watering. All of a sudden this huge Mantis comes charging up out of the white rose in attack mode. She plants herself on one of the white roses that needed to be deadheaded and then , with her beadie eyes on me, she lifts her front legs up and takes on the stance of a monster in one of those Japanese horror movies.
I don't think I got her wet. I was only watering the ground around the rose..., but she came up out of that Rose plant like I had called her to battle. She positioned herself in front of me like she planned to do me great bodily harm and if she hadn't been all of two or three inches tall ..., if she had been huge like in the movies, I would have grabbed the dogs and run to the house, locking the door and calling the sheriff. This is the Corgi dog of the insect world....,a tiny Ninja disguised in pale green, looking like a dried leaf. This little Ninja was not praying for guidance, she was ready to take me on.
I had to laugh, but at the same time, have respect for this creature as I watched her defend her place in this world she lives in. Brave, rather scary (even with her small stature) and showing the world that she is the biggest, baddest insect in the garden. I laughed, but I removed the hose, said I was sorry and went for my camera. She allowed me a few snapshots and , being the little alien that she is, she moved her head and front feet around menacingly just to let me know that she was being patience with me and at some point I needed to leave her to do her work in the rose garden. I did.

How fascinating.
This creature will always be welcome in my garden, as all the insects are. Maybe she has a nest down inside the rose. I will be much more careful from now on.

Stagmomantis Californica - California Praying Mantis
Family - Mantidae
Order - Dictyoptera
Length - 4.5 to 5 cm.
Recognition - Typically green or light brown or yellow
Habitat - Common on bushes and low vegetation
Behavior - Predator
Residency - Southern United States
Note - The California Mantis is cannibalistic. During courtship, the female may decapitate the male for unknown reasons. This, however, does not prevent the male from continuing the mating process. (That's a guy for ya!)

This information on the California Praying Mantis was found at:
The Free Information Society. site

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  1. what a cool post, that is a grande specimen you caught on film!

  2. decapitation...yikes, you're right, just like a guy!

    Beautiful pics, I don't think I've ever seen anything like that before, they are gorgeous in their own buggy way...jj

  3. They really are amazing little creatures. I've never seen one that color. I've seen a few around here, but they are green and were not quite that large. You must have good bugs for her to eat up there in the clean mountain air! Great photo!

  4. A great read on the mantis - another wonderful creature in our universe!

  5. i like bugs... as long as they are OUTSIDE! in the house its WAR... i will sometimes catch and carry them ouside depending on the critter it is...
    mantis I like ! shes a beauty!

  6. Another great story. I have see green praying mantis here but not one the color of yours. Great pictures. Have a great day and a wonderful weekend. Madeline

    P.S. Thanks for your last visit to my blog. I failed to mention that my husband built the little garden house for me and also the gingerbread trim. If your husband
    is a builder you are welcome to grab the picture and use it as a model.

  7. Wow, haven't seen one in that color,but oh so creepy and cool at the same time. Great for the garden. Happy November!

  8. I have told you before I enjoy reading your post. This is such a great story, and you should definitely keep it in a book for your children one day!

    Heck even your blog title depicts a book title!

  9. They are interesting creatures! Loved the pictures. I wish my camera would take up close pictures that clear and nice.


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