Friday, June 3, 2016

Baby Mantises

Mantis  Babies, Pittsburgh, 2016

This has been a big week mantises, what with the egg case hatching at my house this morning (outisde, on the porch), but also with The Notorious Ruth Bader Ginsberg having the honor of a new species of mantis being named for her.  You go, RBG!
The mantis young that emerged from the hardened egg case this morning completed a cycle started last fall when their father bravely mated with their mother.  Males typically encounter a 25% mortality rate while or following mating as the female will bite off his head given the opportunity.  Sexual cannibalism is common in the insect kingdom as it gives the mother the added protein she needs for optimizing her eggs.  It seems crazy, but what about procreating doesn't come across as bizarre, particularly to someone outside the species.  Who am I to judge the head eating mantises?  The abies are adorable, miniatures of the adults, smartly avoiding the awkward adolescent stage that most insects are forced to endure.

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