At high tide fish eat ants; at low tide ants eat fish. – Thai proverb
This year we have at least five praying mantids in our yard that I see regularly. Most are green forms. I believe they are Iris oratoria, the introduced Mediterranean mantids, but please correct me if I’m wrong. The adult has a black eye spot on its hind wing.
There is one brown form. The first time I saw it, it was on a matching brown stem. Talk about cryptic coloration.
The next day it was on a green stem. Not so cryptic any more.
Are you wondering why I’m doing a photo essay about praying mantids on an ant blog?
The hollyhock stem the brown mantid had chosen was an active rover ant (Brachymyrmex patagonicus) trail. At first I wondered if the rover ants would attack the mantid.
After all, the rover ants seemed pretty small to be worthwhile prey for a big mantis. Handling time, and all that.
Think again. In the short time I was watching and taking photos, this praying mantis caught and ate four rover ants. This is the best shot I got.
So, I guess at least one predator thinks rover ants are a worthwhile meal.
Do you have rover ants in your area? Have you ever seem a predator feed on rover ants?
3 Replies to “Praying Mantids and Rover Ants”
I don’t think I’ve seen a brown form mantid like the one you’ve shown here. Sure looks like he’s happy to make a meal out of those ants. I know next to nothing about ant ID, so I’m happy to have the opportunity to learn what a Rover Ant looks like. Thanks!
Seems like many species of mantids have both green and brown morphs. I was happy to see the one in the photos had done her final molt last night and now is an adult female. Her color is still beige.