I took a quick trip over to Lincoln Creek Prairie again this last weekend. Two weeks ago, I photographed a praying mantis and saw several others. This trip, I saw a couple more – including one that had captured, and was eating, a large sphinx moth. I took a couple photographs of it and then moved on to look for other subjects. A few minutes later, however, I found myself drawn back to the mantis, and just sat and watched him for a while. Here are a few photographs from that morning.
When I first spotted it, the mantis was upside down on a pitcher sage (Salvia azurea) plant, and the moth was still struggling feebly.
As it fed, the mantis was getting fuzz all over its head.
As I watched, the mantis tried – mostly unsuccessfully – to wipe some of the hairs off its face.
It’s always interesting to see which part of their prey a predator will start feeding on. In this case, the mantis was eating the underside of the thorax first.