• Range is south-central Great Plains into Mexico. • 26th most commonly observed grasshopper in Texas at iNaturalist. • Eye oval in shape, less curved in front; dark with fine tan mottling. • Thin black stripe extends from front of eye, just over and past antenna. • Female has vestigial wings and is flightless. • Male has functional wings which usually extend beyond the abdomen. • Most have black “eyebrow”, curved on top and flattened on bottom. • Light dorsal stripes on pronotum are parallel toward front rather than pinched, then widening and fading toward back; slight pinching on males. • Front lateral edge of pronotum usually light. • Abdomen with black sides appears striped as segments have pale trailing edge. Black may be eroded, especially on females. Top of abdomen is pale. • Hind femur strongly banded on male • Outside of femur on female mostly black; back and inside may show banding. • Hind tibia violet on at least one female; apparently tibiae not colored on instars. • Female colors tan, green, and black. • Male colors dark brown, black, and yellowish tan.
The habits of this species aren’t well known. Photos of male abdomen and most instars are lacking here.
You are welcome to download this PDF of the photo essay. Click the Download link below.
Earlier this week, I happened to be checking my Martin House poles when I thought I saw something in the netting around the poles. I looked closer and there was a female Mantid (Praying Mantis) who had gotten tangled in the netting.
It took me an hour to get her out unharmed. As soon as she was free she flew onto my arm and proceeded to climb up till she was on my shoulder. She looked at me with her triangular shaped head and turned her head back and forth. Kinda neat and creepy at the same time. I guess we were bonding…
Mantids are a sit-and-wait predator. The females are larger than the males. It is rumored that sometimes if a second male comes near her during mating, well, she just eats the first guy by biting his head off. Maybe that’s where that saying comes from?
They mostly eat other insects or small lizards. They do call to attract a mate, but otherwise are silent.
She was interesting to say the least, and I guess she was thanking me for saving her, because when she finally flew down to the grass, she started following me.
I finally out-distanced her and everyone went home.
Note from Suna: Pamela Neeley from the El Camino Real chapter has been working with water features on her property for the past few months (years), creating not only areas of beauty (sight and sound), but places for aquatic plants to flourish, and wildlife to sustain themselves on. I toured her property a couple of weeks ago and encouraged her to share some of her ideas and techniques with fellow Master Naturalists. Maybe you can borrow of her creative thoughts some in your own gardens and wild areas!