I seek-a ootheca

On my walks around Brunswick I have often kept an eye out for these curious little attachments on the branches of the Melaleucas. Why? Because these little packages, or more correctly ootheca, contain an arsenal of aphid eating mantids. But never did I imagine I would catch a nymph in the process of emerging from its ootheca.

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What an absolute buzz to witness its first emergence into the world. A virtual mini me of its adult form at only ~5 mm long. There will barely be a pause between this emergence and seeking out of its first meal.

I love these little guys not just because the assist me in my quest of keeping the aphids and other pests off the vegies and the roses but because they are one exquisite little creature. I am no entomologist but I do love good bug. It is magic to watch an adult Praying Mantis in action. Their hypnotic sway as they slowly and lithely move in their world seeking out food. Then bang, with speed that is barely registered by the human eye, they pounce upon the prey they have patiently stalked and dispatch of it with devastating efficiency.

If you happen to catch the eye of a mantid they look at you as though they might actually be sizing you up. Making a quick calculation as to whether you are worth the attention, the time and the patience to stalk. If you move their head tracks this movement as they continue their calculation. It is absolutely fascinating to watch.

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