Interesting creatures of the insect type tend to show themselves in my gardens during August. This year is no exception.
Yesterday, while making the rounds with my garden clippers in hand to deadhead spent blossoms, I came upon this praying mantis.
I believe this strange-looking insect-eater is a Chinese mantis (Tenodera sinensis), the type of mantis commonly sold for pest control. None of my gardening dollars went to purchasing this guy … or is it a gal … so it must be established in the area.
Need a bug ID? Visit to Bug Guide.
Connecticut named a praying mantis as state insect, but not the Chinese mantis. Instead, CT gave the European mantis this honor. I’m not sure why the European mantis won out over a native mantis, but it did.
Non-native mantids are not selective in what they eat and will eat any native mantids they come across thus contributing to the demise of native mantids which are considered threatened.
The other interesting creature of the insect type was spotted on the underside of a canna leaf. (Sorry for the not-so-clear cell phone photo.)
A visit to Butterflies and Moths of North America helped me ID this as the caterpillar of a Saddleback Moth (Acharia stimulea).
To my eyes, the caterpillar is more interesting to look at than the moth it will become. I’m glad I did not touch it though, apparently the hairy bristles can cause quite a painful sting.
What interesting creatures of the insect type have you seen of late? If you need ID help be sure to visit the two sites mentioned above. If you have other go-to resources for insect or butterfly/moth ID, please share.