The Bathroom Nymph

I found this praying mantis nymph on the bathroom window a couple of days ago. When I reached out for it he quickly sprang onto my hand and stayed there as I carried him outside. Then, as I nudged him toward an artichoke leaf he stopped to clean a foot. I was required to wait for nearly a minute before the job was done and he hopped on the leaf. He has remained on the same plant since then.

Although he has all his legs and both antennae his body is showing signs of damage. It is obvious on the thorax, but also the joins between the segments of the abdomen are not normal. I hope it all comes right with his next moult.

He’s smaller than the other nymphs I’m tracking, but he’s plucky. This afternoon I caught sight of him stalking a fly. The fly was preening itself, unaware that a mantis was about 2cm away. Unfortunately the mantis could not spring because it was on a lower leaf under an overhang. Then the wind picked up and the artichoke plant was tossed with each gust. The fly was unconcerned, but the mantis took advantage by sneaking up the stem a few millimetres with each gust. I was riveted to the spot, holding my breath, but, alas, the fly was not. It was gone in a flash, leaving the nymph to stare at the empty leaf.

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