About a year ago, Sandy Walker encountered a praying mantis at the Delphi Club. For technical reasons his photo(s) of it didn’t work out. Undaunted (and because I’d never seen one outside an insectarium) I turned an essentially non-event into a short post SANDY’S PRAYING MANTIS, in the course of which I learnt a bit about these strange creatures. There isn’t a great deal of compelling information to pass on, to be honest. And I still don’t buy their supposed resemblance (for the sober observer) to Eleuthera.

We saw no mantises this summer on Abaco, and I forgot about them completely until a week ago… And there, nonchalantly strolling across an outdoor table where we were staying for a few days in Italy, was the very creature. It obligingly posed for some prayerful snaps, then I put it gently on a balcony railing where it clung upside down and apparently content overnight. It was still there at breakfast, gone by lunchtime, and we never saw it again. But the images live on…*

Please note that the fingerprints in photo 1 are copyright…


  1. Ok! It’s Winter up here on Lake Erie. I’m twice retired, and I can’t surf due to the shore-ice out a half mile. (Yes there is surf on Lake Erie). Pretty good fishin’ too! So I read a lot and write some.
    As you probably know, only the females get large. Generally up to 8-9″, up here anyway. They’re much appreciated by us Gardeners and the Farmers due to their voracious appetites for garden pests.
    The female lays her eggs attached to the underside of a well foliated branch, wrap it in insulation and they hatch out the following Spring/Summer. Up here there are Mantis Egg Farms that harvest and sell the egg cases to Gardeners and Farmers in the Fall.
    The marine counterpart is the Mantis Shrimp. Not really a Shrimp,it’s of the Order Stomatopoda, but I say tastier than one! In the Bahamas,there are small, colorful ones, but drab and larger species is Squilla empusa which grows up to 12″ or more. Because of the powerful, comb-like claws they’re known as “Split Thumbs”. Their strike is so fast that the subsequent cavitation causes a loud report, which stuns or kills it’s victim, and the serrated claw will take a thumb right to the bone!
    I have eaten a number of these, and find the flavor superior to Lobster and shrimp.This species resides in vertical holes in sandy areas, usually near reefs. They’re nocturnal feeders, but will snatch victims what stray too close to their lair. I once caught a 12 incher in 50ft with my bait rod and a small hook. I also tried keeping a 4 incher in one of my research tanks, but had to return it to the ocean for fear it would crack the glass with it’s powerful reports, plus it kept me awake all night, and ate all my invertebrates. Just an aside: You may or may not want to steam up a big, terrestrial Mantis, but hey! Crunchy Crickets aren’t bad!


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