Mantis religiosa - Dangerous games …
by Francesco Zezza
There are a lot of them … What I’m going to report is the long and dangerous walk of a European Praying Mantis (Mantis religiosa) taken in a cold day of November on the pot containing (among others) my large Sarracenia x “Stevensii” which happens to be a carnivorous (insect eater) plant. To start with …
A bit of information on the Praying mantis: It is NOT that common in Europe (where only smaller species happen to live). It attains a TL of about 7,5 cm (at maximum. The front legs (when resting) are positioned in a “praying posture”, to say so, although in reality they are just ready to attack. The praying mantis is an insect eater whose “killing istinct” is do deep to occasionally lead the female specimens to eat (beginning from the head) their sexual counterpart while the actual mating is still on the go …
Phylum: ARTHROPODA Class: INSECTS Order: DICTYOPTERA
Praying Mantis (Mantis religiosa)
And now (again really short) info on Sarracenia x “Stevensii”. This plant is related to the family of Sarraceniacee which includes eight “pure-bred” (a.k.a. natural) species, originating from Canada and United states. A countless number of hybrids (created in greenhouses all around the world) are available in the trade and (since the pure, “wild” plants are critically endangered and ENLISTED IN C.I.T.E.S. PAPERS) should be the only ones kept from conscientious hobbyist. My plant(s) as clearly stated by the name is a hybrid someway related to the “wild forms” living in Nature …
Actual insect catching happens inside the pitchers (traps) where the insect (attracted by flavours) walks in and, because of the slippery surface, is no longer able to come out. At the bottom of the trap there is a kind of “stain” of digesting liquid which helps the plant to eat the insect.
And, eventually, here we go with the images
The Praying Mantis (images below) walking on the pitchers of my Sarracenia x “Stevensii” (look at the size of traps they can easily “handle” a prey even bigger). Click on the top and bottom pictures below to see a larger image.
In the end (for the sake of curiosity) the Mantis “made” it safely, managing to walk away …