Monday, September 6, 2010

Litaneutria Minor; Agile Ground Mantid

Litaneutria minor, or the agile ground mantis, is native to the drier regions of the southern Okanagan Valley and some dry, desert areas in the U.S.

Also referred to as L.Minor and is a small “praying mantis”.
It likes to perch (sit) very still on antelope bush (which is also endangered less than 10% left in British Columbia.)
It preys upon other insects (moths,flies,grasshoppers katydids and crickets) but also upon it’s own species.
Cannibalism is most common during mating season, if it occurs, but is not common in most mantid species.
Ground mantids have been observed “chasing down” prey instead of adopting the “hold perfectly still”approach.
The ground mantis is very aggressive in the insect world and will defend itself against predators or “prey” that is putting up a fight.
It will make itself appear larger than life by stretching it’s arms out all the way and standing really tall to frighten off predators.
The males have diaphanous wings and the females, smaller wings. They are capable of short bursts of flight usually near their ‘habitat” such as the antelope bushes.
They can adapt their colouring to their environment to remain “safe” from predators.
They can be predated upon by spiders and other insects when they are in the “nymph” stage of maturity.
They are also prey as well to birds, snakes, and other native predators.
In the late summer and fall the female ground mantid lays her eggs. They are small “egg masses” and are sometimes on the ground or attached to low bushes or ground cover.
She might lay more than one “capsule” with 50 to ~400 eggs.
The nymphs are mature in about 13 weeks.
Female ground mantid lives ~156 days and Male ground mantid ~47


Praying on the ground
Praying ground mantid
agile and running after prey
Praying for sustenance
Praying for antelope bush to remain
for prey to come and prosper for millenia
Silent cycle of prayer

by Ruth-Ann Neil
September 5, 2010

photo courtesy of Danial Neil
picture taken just above Oliver, BC

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