Praying Mantises {Take Two}

Remember last month when our praying mantises hatched?
We were all so bummed that we missed the big event.

I recently asked the kids what topics they were interested in studying this year and
praying mantises were at the top of the list, so I ordered 2 more egg cases from Insect Lore.

When the cases arrived, the literature included stated that it could take up to 10 weeks for them to hatch.
I thought that was a bit off; we have been checking the aquarium set up in Nolan's room multiple times a day.

Mid-morning I heard Kensley shout, "Mama the praying mantises are hatching!"
Of course I run in and discover a tank full of the most adorable fragile little critters.


Kensley, our blooming little nature-lover, began drawing everything that she saw.

And then she told me the second case was hatching.  I must admit, I didn't believe her.
There were already over 150 praying mantises scurrying around the cage, I just assumed she saw some on the other nest that were just resting there.

I should have known better... she was absolutely correct!

I must admit, they did look a bit creepy as they were hatching.
To me, they looked more like baby octopuses than praying mantises.

Like the cicadas, their bodies were a clear/yellowish tint until they hardened.

Can you see the difference?  The darker ones emerged first.

We have no idea how many we actually had... my guess is 250+ between the two cases.

The kids are all smiles here only because they {finally} were able to hold them... 
and didn't yet realize that I would make them set them free.

The look on Kensley's face says it best; this is her most effective form of learning!

The praying mantises were so incredibly small they were almost impossible to photograph, even with my Dad's macro lens.

I brought out this little Lego four wheeler for a size-reference photo.
I was shocked when I looked down and saw a little guy acting as if he was driving!

Just like the caterpillars, Kensley was all about having them climb all over her.
Me on the other hand, kept feeling like I had them crawling in my hair for the rest of the day!

We turned them loose in the garden.  Praying mantises are known for eating bug that will harm our produce plants.

Nolan was very brave; he would pick them up by the handful.

 This was such a fun experience for the kids as well as myself!

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