What a thrill to find this little praying mantis on my washing this morning. There were so few last season, and I had searched in vain for a fresh egg case, that I feared they were lost to my garden.
It was very tiny, just a few millimetres long. The apparently coarse hairy fabric is actually a very fine Egyptian cotton sateen bed sheet, and the solid green is a small part of a green plastic clothes peg. To prove it’s authenticity it is already sporting the inner leg spot of the New Zealand endemic praying mantis, Orthodera novaezealandiae.
A couple of weeks of warm weather has triggered the hatching early. This happened last season too, and it was followed by several harsh frosts, which all but wiped out a generation of mantids. I hope this does not happen again this season.