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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Mantis anyone??

Photo Credit: Chad Hudson
We are always encouraging children and adults to turn off the screens and come outside to enjoy nature.  Our popular (and completely full!) Free Time Adventures in Nature program is currently taking place, and will be going on for another week.  During that time, children are encouraged to check out insects, flowers, and all things outside!  Our Assistant Land Manager and interns got in on the fun, and came across one of natures most fierce competitors (when you compare it ounce for ounce) a "praying mantis".

I know these insects are easy to identify for most people but they do not cease to be fascinating.  The quick reflexes of these ambush predators can help them to snag prey that is much larger in size than they are: birds, rodents, even snakes, frogs, and lizards. While they do their job cutting down on those pesky flies that bite us, they have an amazingly adaptable ability (say that three times fast) to attack much larger prey.   There are over 2300 species of praying mantis throughout the world, and all have an extraordinary ability to find prey of all sizes.  They are masters at camouflage, and some use bio-mimicry to fool their prey.  Next time you are out in the woods, keep your eyes out for our tiny predatory friend, the praying mantis, or keep looking because shortly we'll be finding their egg deposits for the next generation.

Do you want your kids to TURN OFF and GET OUTSIDE?? Are Free Time Adventures program is full but join us Saturday for our monthly Children Sharing Nature program at Bucktoe Creek Preserve. 

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