There have been two very tiny praying mantis nymphs in the greenhouse. I check on them several times a day. This morning one seemed to be shrivelled up, but it turned out to be a cast skin. The nymph had blossomed into a larger, lighter version of itself. Here it is in the second of six instars. The black back stripe was discarded with the skin.

The skin was 8mm from head to tail. The detail fascinates me. There are the claws and even the thigh spot that distinguishes this species. And how on earth does it slip its new antennae from the old hair-like pair?

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