Thursday, July 01, 2010


The real Parker came for piano lessons this morning. When I walked him out to the car, this green thing was hanging from the side mirror. It appeared to be an animal so I figure it would be OK in the garden. I thought it was a praying mantis. We removed it gently from the car and I took it back to the tomato patch. I carefully transferred it to the tomato cage when suddenly it turned out to be them. One was the exoskeleton and the other was the green, very flat whatever (i'm hoping it's a praying mantis but it's so young it's hard to tell...if it's a grasshopper, it will eat Robert's garden and then we won't be happy.

I decided I need to take picture of the two things and surprisingly, the little green guy, who now is named Parker, has puffed up quite a lot.

When I was young, you always found praying mantis around our neighborhood. We would prepare an old shoe box, making a window in the top of it with syran wrap. The next big fun was to catch grasshoppers and feed it to the praying mantis. The mantis would catch it with its 2 grabbing legs and we'd sit for hours watching it eat off the heads (is there any wonder why Stephen King never frightened me later in life?).

Our next door neighbor, the mom, was a big strange. She'd keep them in her home...unboxed. I remember one would sit on her typewriter and its head would go back and forth as the typebars would strike the paper, leaving the imprint of the letters. Fascinating to watch this insect and apparently typing was as fascinating to watch, as well. Many a praying mantis would leave her eggs on Edith's draperies. When the babies would begin to emerge, she'd take the whole blob outside. My mom thought it was disgusting, we kids were thrilled.

So whether it's a praying mantis or a grasshopper, it was a fun moment. I love the oddities in nature (when I go out long enough to see them) and it's fun to contemplate.

I did mention that I had knitted a praying mantis this summer, didn't I? I'm still trying to find my floral wires so I can make the back 4 legs pose-able...but here he is for now!


Lin Floyd said...

do praying mantises really pray?

Karen Ahlstrom said...

he looks like a katydid to me.

Betty said...

I had a similar katydid in my back yard last year. It had a big appetite for my raspberry leaves. I caught it to show to my grandkids and they were horrified that I did not want it to continue eating my yard. My grandson took it home and let it go. Needless to say any others that I saw were not shown to the grandkids. If the leaves in the garden are stripped to the veins, you know it is a katydid.

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