City Creek Nature Notes – Salt Lake City

October 2, 2016

October 2nd

Filed under: Colors, Insects, Picnic Site 12, Places, Praying Mantis — canopus56 @ 10:06 pm

Camouflaged Mantises

3:00 p.m. At mile 1.6 near picnic site 12, a praying mantis, an ambush predator, is on the road. It may be sunning itself on the warmer road, or it may be in distress, because as it is approached, it does not fly off, and it struggles forward with a slow award gait. This mantis is light tan in color, and that is same color as the dried grass in the surrounding meadow. Two days ago at mile 0.6, there was another praying mantis also sunning itself on the road; that mantis was was slate grey; and the surrounding foliage consisted of green plants over grey-brown soil. Its color was also excellent camouflage for its surrounding.

Elsewhere, I have seen this same color camouflage used by prey insects. In the heat of summer while jogging along the Bonneville Shoreline Trail behind the university hospital, twenty or more small, tan-colored grasshoppers can be flushed out by disturbing the dried, tan meadow grass. Running a third of a mile up nearby shaded Dry Fork Canyon, the foliage is green, and grasshoppers flushed there are green colored.

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