August 12, 2006

Cicada Killers and Preying Mantises (manti?)

Found a praying mantis while doing yard work. The kids enjoyed it and put it in my garden. A few minutes later I heard a fluttering and buzzing sound and followed it to a cicada killer taking down a cicada in my driveway. I've seen these fellows in action before - it's a thrilling predator/prey event that takes place right in your backyard. A cicada was on the side of the garage once, a cicada killer (large wasp the size of your pinky) flew up, grabbed it, stung the daylights out of it and flew off like an overloaded helicopter, dragging the poor, wriggling, unsuspecting cicada to its nest where it will lay a single egg on it, which will hatch into a larva, which eats the cicada until its big enough to fly off and hunt cicadas itself. Unfortunately, I didn't get my camera in time, but only had time to call the boys out to see the wasp dragging it away.

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