This guy was a bit intimidating.
It had been since last summer that we'd seen one of these, and this one was big -- its body was a good four inches long, if not more. It had its front legs outstretched in a rather menacing way, as though it couldn't wait to try some of its latest karate moves on us.
Bug eyes. They have 2 sets, a set of compound ones on the sides and a set of simple ones arranged in a triangle between the antennae.
The children got up the courage to touch it, and Bethany thought it enjoyed being petted.
I thought this pic would be a good one to use for labeling some of its anatomy, one of those "maybe someday" ideas for potential science activities.
For more information about mantises, you might enjoy these pages:
This was interesting -- shows pictures of it eating, and more closeup shots. Gross warning though, it shows guts.
YouTube has video of a hatching. A mantis lays hundreds of eggs around a twig in a case called an ootheca. Wikipedia has a good picture of one, as well as other information and pictures about the species.
Update September 26: More links. I'm looking for more info about the ootheca -- we think we found one!!! Maybe more on that later.
Well done site here with nice pictures and some info, but not enough ootheca info to help.
Aha! This is exactly what I needed! The Amateur Entomologist's Society -- sounds like the site could be helpful in the future for other things as well. This site has good info about the ootheca.
Update December 1, 2010: We did indeed find an ootheca -- actually, two! See my post with photos of the ootheca and the newly-emerged nymphs here!]