Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Praying Mantis Exoskeletons

Photos of some of the larger exoskeletons gathered through the season. These epidermis exoskeletons which cover the mantids are shed many times as the praying mantis grows. It is mostly done at night during which time they are in a vulnerable position, unable to defend themselves as well till they are free from this shell. It can take several hours of hanging upside down letting gravity do the work, slowly pulling them free. The exoskeletons show all the details of the mantid body including the tiny antennae on top of the head. They repeat this procedure over and over till they reach adulthood. On the last shedding they reveal their wings and no longer shed in this manner.


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