Mantis Babies!

In the patio area behind our office we had some praying mantis egg cases set  on the branches of some of the bushes.  We had been waiting for weeks for them to hatch, and today it got warm enough outside to wake the babies up.  We didn’t see them as they were hatching, but saw them right after they came out and were running all over the bushes.  When they hatch they drop out of the case attached to thin filaments that look like the  silky lines on parachutes, then detach themselves from the filaments to seek a sunny spot to warm up and get their exoskeletons hardened.  Our new hatchlings were all pale brown, and very teeny.  We noticed that some of them were jumping into spider webs on one of the bushes, so we pulled them out of there… but still one of the spiders was seen with a mantis-snack in its mouth.  We also saw one mantis-baby that had hatched, but then just didn’t make it: it was laying on top of the case, folded over like it was “sleeping” on its side.  We were saddened by the deaths, but still happy that we’d had a chance to see the babies when they were all so new.  We were worried that they’d hatch over the weekend and we’d miss them entirely.

Here are some photos: