Praying mantis

IMG_20160411_110859New 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.

NZ praying mantis

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!

SA praying mantis male

This is a male of the South African mantis and …

SA praying mantis

this is a female with her swollen abdomen all ready to lay eggs.


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