Praying Mantis at the Laguna

Restoration

As our Restoration Ecology class made our way to the Laguna de Santa Rosa Trais in Sebastopol to meet Brent Reed, Restoration Manager at the Laguna Foundation, we didn’t expect to meet the friends we did on the trails.

Portion of the Laguna de Santa Rosa trail

Laguna de Santa Rosa Trail. Photo © W. St. John

Our task for the day was removing mesh and the baby tree protectors that had been on there for a couple of years. As the sun grew hotter and the work got tedious a strange hollow leaf looking thing was found.

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Praying Mantis Egg Sack. Photo © W. St. John

“Wow what is that!” Everyone was fascinated by this strange egg sack we concluded it was. Back to work we went pulling up weed mats, but we kept finding really cool anything things! We found about 5 snakes sheds that were fully tacked and we kept finding those egg sacks stuck to the weed mats.

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Pulling weed mats. Photo © W. St. John

Finally someone satisfied our curiosity and told us it was a Praying Mantis egg sack. Wow how cool…none of us had ever seen one before. As we kept finding those through our restoration work we assumed it was laying egg season.

A walk through the Laguna

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Tree. Photo © W. St. John

As Brent took us for a walk through the Laguna for a little history talk, we kept coming across our dear friend the Praying Mantis. They were everywhere! The Praying Mantis is a a fierce predator. They live for about a year making and laying their eggs in the autumn and then they hatch in the spring. Their leaf like egg sack protects the eggs during the cold winter season. They can be up to about 3 inches long and some can rotate their head 180 degrees.

Finding the Praying Mantis everywhere was a wonderful highlight of the field trip. Everywhere we looked there was an egg sack or a praying mantis its self!

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Praying Mantis. Photo © W. St. John