Monday, September 01, 2008

Return of the Mantises Part II

Mantis Watch continues here at Casa IVG, and here are some of today's results! We (separately) found both green and brown Mantises lurking around today in the back garden. Fernymoss captured this one on the Phlox Paniculata in the savage back corner of the garden, most likely guarding and feasting on the numerous insects that must be skulking around in this most uncontrolled corner of our gardens. Interestingly, we've been wondering if we have two species here, one green and one brown, or whether the green eventually morph into brown, but no matter what, we're still happy they're established inhabitants of the garden (as I've no doubt noted before). So ... we wish them well, to live long and prosper, and above all, send forth their progeny next year!

Below, you can watch a brief video of how this one was spending his time observing the observer early this evening....

video

And here's one final shot of him surveying his Phloxy domain for food ... happy feasting our friend!
video

And here's a video I took about an hour earlier of one of the green Mantises still hanging out on the Heliopsis (aka: Yellow Rogue) growing out by the decrepit shed. Though most of this video is in pretty decent focus, there are a few blurry moments as he was buffeted about a bit by the breeze, but it didn't need extensive editing (unlike those I took last week). Here he's just going about his business, as (if you turn up the volume) you can hear the sound of someone playing the bagpipes up the street to the north of our house. At first, we weren't sure if it was just someone playing music loudly, but when we heard people clapping, we concluded that we have a bagpipe player in the neighborhood. How cool is that? Who knew? (My favorite line from Transformers, by the way!) A nice touch to this (relatively sedate) short video, I thought....
Finally, here's a close up of a caterpillar who was doing whatever it does on an adjoining flower to the Mantis ... Fernymoss has already consulted his field guides and hasn't found out what this is yet, so if anyone can ID it, please let us know. If you look closely at this shot (click through, as always), you can see one of the red aphids lurking on this flower as well ... and as I noted in a previous post, I think this is what is attracting the Mantises to this weedy marauder in our garden. Rest assured, if not for the Mantises' preference for hanging out here, these would have been pulled a while back, but they escape, merely because they are apparently a Mantis magnet, due to their pests!

So there you have it for Sunday at Casa IVG ... lots of life going on out back, when one takes the time to really observe it. We thought it was a particularly rewarding afternoon ourselves, and the early evening temperatures were delightful for this part of late Summer. We couldn't have asked for much better! Today life was good in the garden....

7 comments:

Janet said...

My gawd, your garden is a testament to your love and your soul. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. Just blows me away.

I WISH WISH WISH I could meet you, but in many ways we already have. BUT! If you ever come to Portland for some fertilizer seminar or Praying Mantis hatchery festival... you'd better let me know so I can hook you up with some good times here with me and my family.

Glad you got some time off. I didn't get to the mountain of laundry this weekend. Was too busy getting the kids ready for school. Wesley is turning 16 and Danni, she's starting high school and is sooooooooo busy.

Gail said...

IVG,

I was so convinced that you and Fernymoss were responsible for the bagpipe music! I thought it was an appropriate funeral dirge for a bug eating bug video. Well in my memory and when I tell this story...that is exactly the way it was!

Gail

I love the videos! I am imagining the big mantis eyes checking you out like well, Mantis, the movie!

Shady Gardener said...

IVG, You always have great posts! I'd forgotten that I was going to sneak away with one of your mantises! ha. Anyway, I think your caterpillar will become some type of sphinx moth. The markings are correct and it has a tail. :-)

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey there Janet!
Why thank you dear, but the weeds might just blow you away too, lol! We got rid of some more yesterday, but still don't have them entirely under control yet... maybe by frost, hehe.

Believe me, if I make it to Portland I'll be planning on looking you up, so don't worry. I don't travel anymore (which is a good thing, believe me), but should I end up there I'll be knocking at your door. You're still one of my very favorite old time BT folks ...

School time there eh? Good luck with that! Can't believe your kids are starting HS! How quickly they grow up eh? I sure don't envy you all that frenzied activity!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Gail,
LOL, we were hearing that bagpipe music all afternoon and I wondered if the cam would pick it up at all. Unfortunately in the later video all you can hear is some of the rowdy people up the street who were having a yard party... lol, I like the bagpipes better, especially since we figured out it was live!

We are so fascinated with these guys, and we saw a couple again today when we were out grilling... they sure seem to like hanging out upside down under the flowers. We thought maybe that's their "stealth" position to snare their prey....

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Shady,
Thanks, I'm glad you enjoy them! Keep your eye out at your place ... they seem to be pretty numerous this year. I was talking to one of our friends who lives a couple of blocks away and mentioned we had lots of them and she said she'd been seeing lots as well and remarked on how big they are this year!

Nice catch on the caterpillar, because Fernymoss couldn't find that in any of his field guides. I hope we see what it turns into, but it looks too small to be the Sphinxies we love (the ones like hummingbirds). But any Sphinxie is welcome in our garden!

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