In the winter, when the leaves are off the trees, it is easy to spot Praying Mantis egg cases on the saplings in our field. The photograph above shows two such cases. The mantis dies after producing these in the Fall. Each case is about one inch across and is constructed of a frothy material that resembles styrofoam in texture. I brought one of these cases inside to dissect it, but I stuck it in one of the kitchen drawers and forgot it. Before long we had a crowd of baby mantises crawling all over the kitchen. We had a fun time catching them and releasing them outside.
The photograph above shows one of the mantises in side view. It already has the spikes on its front legs which it uses for grasping prey items and its large eyes. Whatever they eat at this stage must be very small.
The two photographs above show how small the newly emerged mantises are. The top photograph shows one of them on Joyce’s fingertip. The second photograph compares a baby mantis with a quarter coin.