Praying Mantids and Rover Ants

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.

pm-ant-is-a -goner-2

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?