Sunday, September 04, 2011

Do You Come to a Cemetery to Pray?

Yesterday I visited Cold Brook Preserve in Hunterdon County for the first time; I will have more about that in a later post. On the way to and from the preserve, you pass through the town of Oldwick, an old farming village that dates back to the 18th Century. Near the center of town there is a historic Lutheran church with a very old cemetery. On one of the older gravestones there was a mantid. First it waited on the left of the stone, and then it crawled up onto the stone's rounded top.

This mantid appears to be a Chinese Mantid (Tenodera aridifolia sinensis). According to BugGuide, these are recognized by the tan forewing with a green stripe along the leading edge of the wing and by their eyes, which are chocolate brown at sunrise and pale tan at other times of day. Chinese Mantids were imported into the U.S. as a biological control agent beginning in 1896. Egg cases for this species continue to be widely available from gardening suppliers. Its value as a biological control is questionable. While it eats a large volume of insects, it eats a wide variety – the beneficial insects along with the pests.