I'm trying to remember back over the past 9 years, but I think this is the first praying mantis I've seen on Bodega Head. I have a vague memory of talking about them and their status in California, but I can't recall observing one locally. Has anyone else seen them on Bodega Head? I'm wondering how common (or uncommon) they are here.
It sounds like there are a few species of mantids in California, so I'm not sure yet which species this is, but I'll ask around to try to find out.
There's an interesting thing going on in these pictures. Did you notice that one antenna is bent over in a loop (see above, and close-up below)?
I'm wondering if the mantis is cleaning its antenna by drawing it through its mouthparts. Or do you have other ideas about what's happening?
Here's another view:
Let me know if you have other local praying mantis stories!
P.S. Annie Dillard writes about watching praying mantis in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, one of my early inspirations in making natural history observations.