Talk about a quail of a time....
When the ootheca of a praying mantis, Stagmomantis limbata, hatched April 9 on a clothespin clamped to our clothesline in our yard, all the nymphs scattered. Some crawled up a metallic quail sculpture, the highest structure on the clothesline. (See Bug Squad blog)
A bird's eye view? They scrambled about, covering the beak (beak-a-boo), the eyes and the tail (bright-eyed and bushy tailed), and the wings (were they just winging it?).
If a flock of quail is collectively known as a flock, covey or bevy, what is the collective noun for a group of mantids?
A mass of mantids? A pack of predators? A prayer meeting? Or a prey-er meeting? Brothers and sisters, we are gathered here today....let us prey.
Only a few will survive to maturity. Many have already been eaten by a brother or sister. And some will lose their head to a female suitor (sexual cannibalism).
Birds of a feather may flock together, but praying mantids do not. They keep their compound eyes on the prize, and spiked forelegs on their prey.
None would ever be nominated for Miss or Mr. Congeniality.
Author - Communications specialist