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Thursday, August 7, 2014

NBNC's First Praying Mantis!

A summer camper shows off his find
It isn't too unusual for us to add a new insect species to our list for the property, but it isn't every day that we add a whole new order!

Summer campers at NBNC found a praying mantis (Mantis religiosa) this week, a first for us and still somewhat rare this far north. They are not a native species, but are certainly an impressive one to see and an exciting one to find!

Wasp Mantidfly
Only one species of praying mantis is found in Vermont, but others (including native species) can be found further south (Florida has 11 mantid species!). The similar-looking Wasp Mantidfly, also present in Vermont, may be confused for a praying mantis but is more closely related to a lacewing than a praying mantis (their raptorial front legs give them a ‘praying’ posture).

With global climate change causing milder winters, it is possible that praying mantis will become more common around NBNC, but for now, this can be considered a pretty unusual find!

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