Praying Mantis

The very first sculpture I made to cast in bronze in 2002 was of a Praying Mantis. I have always enjoyed the Mantis for its alien- like form, and have come to learn a whole lot more about the species after raising a couple in our kitchen this summer.
I ordered 3 egg casings online earlier this year, but they did not hatch after weeks of anticipation. To my surprise, I found one on the brick wall at work one day. The female named Saint Teresa, came into our house in the middle of July. She molted twice, tripling in size, and got her wings after the second molt in captivity.

The quest for a male suitor started and ended with a post on Craigslist. I did not get any good response to my ad, so I thought St. Teresa may just stay a virgin in her life time. Until...I was coming in the front door at work and found a little brown fellow carrying the name of St. Francis (aka Whirly Gig).
Francis has mated with Teresa twice. She didn't eat him, and actually took a cricket out of my fingers while mating.

On Monday 7/31/09, I found another male, he was green, and didn't receive a name...I took him home, and got him acquainted with St. Teresa by placing a container over the lid to her cage. I put them together and he did mate with her, but by morning all that was left were four scattered wings in the bottom of the cage.
So, Teresa will lay an egg casing or two this fall, and the babies will hatch in the Spring. Stefanie would like the top of the microwave back, so I am going to have to find a place for my bugs in the mean time.
I have read some interesting things about the Mantis that continue to inspire and question my being. Like if a small child is lost, and comes across a Praying Manits on their path, the child can ask which direction to go, and the Manits will truthfully answer by pointing with its front legs.
They also have a strong relationship with the Divine, and are the keepers of the night while protecting you from bad dreams by praying for you all night long.

1 comment:

tenacious toys said...

Awesome post! We've raised a few oothecas ourselves, a couple different specics of mantids. We got wise after the first batch cannibalized themselves- we began letting them go in my dad's yard.
This was 2 years ago. Dad still finds mantids each spring and summer, so the batches we've brought up there have definitely reproduced! So fascinating, our favorite insects to be sure!