When the calendar flipped to August, I still hadn’t seen a praying mantis in our yard. The same thing happened last year, too. I didn’t find a single one on my own. Monica was the mantis spotter extraordinaire in 2016. But this summer, even she was 0-for-2017 in the catching-sight-of-a-mantis department. I was beginning to wondered if that April snow storm that dumped nearly 10-inches of snow in Pueblo might have done in this year’s mantis class.
Finally, on Aug.13, while inspecting the Russian sage, among the blue flowers and buzzing bees, I noticed a peculiar shape hanging off one the shrub’s branches. Ta-da: dangling upside down was a green female mantis. It was about 3 1/2-inches long. I ran inside, grabbed my camera, and hustled back outside. I shot about 15 frames, then let it be. By then, the mantis was rocking back and forth, not terribly pleased with a having a camera in its face.
A week later, I was back poking around the Russian sage. I had just cleaned my camera sensor and went outside to test it. Lo and behold, there was another mantis. Only this one was brown with green legs, its eyes translucent against the morning light. For all I knew, it might have been the same mantis, only recently molted.
Now that I know mantises are residing in the yard, I wish they’d make the 20-yard trek from the sage over to our grapevine. I need a little help thinning out the katydids. They’re doing a number on the grape’s leaves.