New Zealand Praying mantis
It’s not often I see a New Zealand praying mantis these days. I’m sure I used to see them more often but now most of the mantises in my garden are a South African species. Seeing this lovely mantis prompted me to get out Common Insects of NZ by David Miller, revised in 1984. In it there is a little about a “South African species of mantis…which is found in the Auckland area”. It was first found in 1970 “and has since been reared and released in a number of gardens around Auckland”. Whether it is responsible for the drop in NZ mantis numbers or whether it just gets the blame I don’t know.
The dark patch on the NZ mantis’s fore leg is it’s ear, or at least a hearing organ of some sort, but it is the orange colouring on the leg which always appealed to me since we don’t have a lot of brightly coloured insects in NZ. Actually we share this mantis with Australia so maybe that’s why it’s a bit colourful!
This is a male of the South African mantis and …
this is a female with her swollen abdomen all ready to lay eggs.