Archive | February 17, 2013

Mom would have been so proud

A couple of months ago tiny Chinese mantids overran my house, having hatched unexpectedly from an ootheca that was supposed to stay dormant until spring. Last night the first female of the batch successfully molted into adulthood (the first male had his imaginal molt three days earlier), thus completing the cycle that started when I adopted “Florimonde”, an old Chinese mantis that had flown into a friend’s house in Cambridge last fall.
Insect molts are one of the most amazing spectacles of the natural world and I don’t think I will ever tire of watching these incredible transformations. And although I didn’t get much sleep last night (she did not begin her molt until 6 AM), it was definitely worth it.

The complete developmental cycle of Chinese mantis (Tenodera parasinensis) - it began on December 4th, 2012 and ended with the final molt on February 17th, 2013.

The complete developmental cycle of Chinese mantis (Tenodera parasinensis) – it began on December 4th, 2012 and ended with the final molt on February 17th, 2013.

A female Chinese mantis expanding her wings after the final (imaginal) molt.

A female Chinese mantis expanding her wings after the final (imaginal) molt.