Monday, April 29, 2013

Nature Study Monday: Spiny Flower Mantis

My Facebook status the other day was “Despite the fact that I am SO TOTALLY NOT a bug person, we now have a “pet” caterpillar and a “pet” praying mantis.  These in addition to the ants and roaches that have taken up residence in my house without an invitation.”
It’s true, people.  I guess this is what 10+ years in the tropics and determination to make ‘nature study’ happen will do to you.
You’ve already met our friend ChewLeaf (who is still chewing away and doing well.)   The ants and the roaches I won’t bore you [gross you out?] with (although the kids think it’s pretty funny when the ants trying to carry off things like beans, peanuts, and grains of rice that drop on the floor under the table….it is, actually.)
Today, I thought I’d tell you about our mantis.

Since my FB post, I have learned that it is actually a Spiny Flower Mantis.   Isn’t he fascinating?  We discovered him in a neighbor’s yard when the kids were over there playing the other day and have been keeping him for observation. (Thanks to Deborah for sharing her find, and her photo, with us!)

Over the weekend we [okay, I’ll be honest, my husband and son] caught a grasshopper to feed him.   It was really interesting to watch how he caught it in his two front legs and grasped it while chewing it down (see above).  He was fast!  Must have been hungry.  When he was done, it looked as if he groomed himself – similar to the way a cat does.

While all the kids have been interested in it, our 3-year-old has been the most fascinated.  She is always asking to see it and stood there and watched him eat until the grasshopper was completely gone.   Some of the observations this little one has made:  he eats grasshoppers, he is big (in her opinion anyhow, I’d say he’s around 2 to 2.5 inches long), and he has a bumpy tummy.    (Punctuated by questions like “Do I have a bumpy tummy, mama?  Does he know how to swim?”)
Love, love, love the way that nature study is a way to involve even my littlest ones in our educational life.

1 comment:

  1. this is AWESOME! oh my.

    i feel your pain on the bug thing... though i actually consider myself to have expanded my horizons greatly! i'm only a teensy weensy wimpy now compared to before! ;)

    thanks so much for sharing this! i am amazed.