When we last left Ms. Mantis, a female Stagmomantis limbata residing in our verbena patch, she was munching on a honey bee.
A successful ambush stalker, she was.
But not always.
Her plan to take down a duskywing butterfly, genus Erynnis, didn't go so well.
The butterfly, foraging on the blossoms, touches down near the predator, unaware of the trouble that could lie ahead.
The predator and the prey. The skillful hunter and the unsuspecting prey. Ms. Mantis is poised, ready to strike. The butterfly flutters away in the nick of time.
It will live to forage another day.
The mantis? It will live to hunt another day.
Author - Communications specialist
A female praying mantis, Stagmomantis limbata (as identified by praying mantis expert Lohit Garikipati of UC Davis) eyes a mourning cloak butterfly nectaring on verbena. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Ready, set...The praying mantis, Stagmomantis limbata, really wants this mourning cloak butterfly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
"Whoa, where did it go? It was in my sights and now it's gone." The praying mantis loses her prey. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Safe and sound. The duskywing butterfly, genus Erynnis, nectars on a blossom away from the praying mantis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)