27September

Birds Should Beware of Praying Mantises (Really!)

  • Posted By: Glenn Waldorf
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There’s are some incredible articles in The New York Times, Newsweek and other media outlets about Praying Mantises and how they hunt birds (yes, birds) and larger prey than their insect cousins.  Praying mantises are carnivorous insects with powerful raptorial front legs that usually depend on arthropods such as insects or spiders as their primary prey. Rather infrequently, they have also been witnessed eating small vertebrates such as frogs, lizards, salamanders or snakes. These articles summarize and explain a new scientific paper showing that mantises have been observed targeting birds all around the world, in 13 different countries and on every continent except Antarctica.

There is great diversity in the avian victims: birds from 24 different species and 14 families were found to be the prey of mantises. The researchers assembled 147 documented cases of this feeding behavior from all over the world. However, more than 70 percent were reported in the US, where praying mantises often capture birds at hummingbird feeders or plants pollinated by hummingbirds in house gardens. (The photos are not family friendly so it’s up to you to click on and find any pictures of these insects hunting hummingbirds.)

An important note – Bell Environmental has a Bird Control division, but unlike these predatory insects our tactics never harm birds.

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