Monday, January 25, 2010

The Praying Mantis - Number One in My Books

The praying mantis is one of the most fascinating creatures I've ever had the pleasure of encountering and handling. Their looks are alien, yet they can also be sleek and graceful. On top of all that, with their five eyes (2 compound and 3 simple), spiky forearms and ability to camouflage themselves in their environment - they make quite the formidable predator. Yet harmless to man. My kind of critter!!

I spent a lot of time this past summer trying to find a praying mantis, but found nary a one. Yes, I really do go searching for insects. I think I'll have to do more investigating as to where the best places to find these fascinating insects are. So far, since being in Barrie, I have only had the pleasure of finding 3 praying mantises. This summer will be my 5th summer here....that's not a very good success ratio! I am optimistic that this Spring and Summer will make up for the praying mantis shortfall I'm experiencing!! If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try, try again... right??!!!

Juicy Tidbits:

* Praying mantises are predatory insects that are superior hunting machines. They hunt not only insects, but also snakes, lizards, birds, frogs... and even rodents.

* They are masters of camouflage (which explains why they are so hard for me to find!)

* Praying mantises can fly

* They are carnivores, and the female is known for cannibalizing the male mantis during or immediately after mating.

* Birds and bats are two common predators of the praying mantis.

* The egg case of the praying mantis is called an ootheca.

I believe the only type of praying mantis I've found is the European Mantid (Mantis religiosa). These can be easily identified by a large black spot located on the inside of its forelegs.
Want to know more? Check out some of these websites....


  1. I've added your blog to my favorites. Enjoyed reading the blog. keep up the good work.

  2. So cool!

    Say, in your profile you say you used to shoot with a Canon Power Shot A570 using a macro attachment. Could you tell me the exact macro attachment you used (brand?) please? Thanks!

  3. Hi Sarah!

    For my Power Shot A570, I use a an extention tube with a close up lens that screws onto it. Specifically, it's a Canon LA-DC52G extention tube and a Canon 52 mm close up lens (250D).

    Attach the extention tube to your camera by pushing in the button on the front of your camera. This releases the metal ring, allowing attachments to click on. The close up lens then simply screws onto the end of the extention tube.

    You must now let your camera know that you've attached these items. Push the "menu" button and scroll down twice to the "Digital Zoom" option. Scroll to the right and select either 1.5X or 1.9X, depending on how close up you wish to shoot your subject. Now scroll down the menu list to the "Converter" option and select the 250D option. This lets your camera know you are using an extention tube. On the top of your camera, select the "portrait" setting, which is the symbol of the lady's head. Now, select the MF (macro function) just under the FUNC Set button on the back of your camera. The "flower" icon will appear on your LCD. Finally, turn off your flash, as your subject will be overexposed if you use a flash close up.

    You are still able to use your manual settings (M, AV, TV and P) while you are using the close up lens and extention tube. I didn't know this for a very long time. I always thought I had to be in the portrait setting.

    I hope this helps! This is a relatively cheap way to get some better close up photos. I have had a lot of fun over the years using this simple set up.

    Thanks so much for visiting my site! Let me know how things work out!