David found this Praying Mantis on the way to the Sycamore Trial
David, of the American Indian Club of Selma,
found this green lady on the way to the 
Sycamore Trail in October. She was standing guard over a pile of coyote scat.
Praying Mantis

The Praying mantis is a carnivorous insect that takes up a deceptively humble posture when it is searching for food. At rest, the mantis' front forelegs are held together in a posture resembling prayer or deep thought. These front legs are equipped with rows of sharp spikes that the mantis uses to hold its prey. 

The mantis waits motionless for an appropriately sized insect (though larger mantises have been known to eat small reptiles and birds) to come within range. The mantis often patiently waits until the insect is close enough, then strikes with its forelegs, capturing the insect. However, sometime the mantis actually pursues the insect by creeping closer. It is surprising how slowly and fluidly the mantis can move. As the mantis approaches, it often sways back and forth, perhaps mimicing the foliage swaying in the breeze that it resembles. When the time is right, the mantis suddenly leans foward and its front legs snap out and grab the insect. 

The mantis almost always starts eating the insect while it is still alive, and almost always goes straight for the insect's neck: this way, the mantis makes sure that the struggling of the insect stops quickly. 
Praying mantis always goes for the neck of its prey- first, eating the vicitm while it is still alive.
Praying mantises in North America are usually green or brown, and adult insects range in size from 2 to 6 inches. Common mantises in the United States include the Chinese Mantis and the Carolina Mantis. Mantis babies usually hatch from their frothy egg-masses in late April or May, or whenever the weather begins to warm up, depending on the region. Mantis babies are wingless, but otherwise resemble the adults (this is an important distinction in classifying insects). By August, mantises that have survived are adult, and by September or October, most of them die. 
images - I. Lindsey

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