Praying mantis by David Clarke

This European Mantis (Mantis religiosa) was checking me out on the terrace of our place in Tuscany this morning while enjoying the October sun.
According to Mr Wikipedia: ‘Originating in southern Europe, the European Mantis was introduced to North America in 1899 on a shipment of nursery plants. Now they are found all over the north-eastern United States and Canada to the Pacific Northwest. The European Mantis is usually 5–7.5 cm (2–3 inches) in length, and has shades of bright green to tan. It can be distinguished easily by a black-ringed spot beneath the fore coxae. It is one of several different insects for which a name used within Europe to refer to only a single insect species (in this case, “praying mantis”) has become adopted throughout the globe to refer to the larger group of insects to which that one species belongs (e.g., compare “hornet” to European hornet, or “wasp” to common wasp).
Despite being an introduced species, it is the official state insect of Connecticut.

Although not visible in this image, the black-ringed spot was there in this insect, confirming the identification.

Canon 40D with Canon 28-70mm L f2.8L lens at 70mm. ISO200 1/250 at f10
Original RAW image cropped and processed in Lightroom
Image taken 4 October 2012, Tuscany, Italy

Best viewed large!

Living for partly in Italy, partly in Phuket and partly in other locations around the world – Hong Kong & Kenya when I can – I spend a lot of time photographing anything and everything. I particularly enjoy the challenge of capturing shots of wildlife large and small – from elephants to insects. A wider selection of my work can be seen on my website at

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  • © Karin  Taylor
    © Karin Taylorover 2 years ago

    what a sweet face, lovely work David ;)

  • Many thanks, Karin:))

    – David Clarke

  • Konstantinos Arvanitopoulos
    Konstantinos A...over 2 years ago

    4 October 2012 – 1 image per 24hrs

  • Thanks, Konstantinos – my pleasure.

    – David Clarke

  • Larry Trupp
    Larry Truppover 2 years ago

    WONDERFUL detail…love the write up David

  • Many thanks, Larry. And thanks too for the fav – much appreciated:))

    – David Clarke

  • Kane Slater
    Kane Slaterover 2 years ago

    I think you just un-confused me. The National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Insects and Spiders of North America has a photo of a European Mantid that says “male” then there is a space and “forelegs have black-ringed spot at base”. For several years I have assumed that meant that the spot identifies a male … but now I’m thinking that the photo just happens to be a male and the spot identifies any E.M. I was wondering why every one of the dozen or so E.M.s that I’ve found was supposedly a male. Now I’m going to have to go through all my Mantid photos and change the sex to unidentified.

  • Thanks for the reply, Kane. There’s another wiki ref that is interesting and also another here From those, I suspected that the mantis in my shot is a female – six abdominal segments visible and a large abdomen. She certainly showed no indication of wanting to fly away; she just crawled up the wall of the house when the lens got too intrusive.

    – David Clarke

  • Larry Trupp
    Larry Truppover 2 years ago

    Commendable work David…10 October 2012

    You are invited to participate in this Weeks Feature Message Column..Please CLICK HERE

  • Many thanks, Larry. Very much appreciated:))

    – David Clarke

  • Yukondick
    Yukondickover 2 years ago

    Tried to get one of thes recently but my results didn’t cut it – yours did.

  • Many thanks, Dick. She was an obliging little lady!

    – David Clarke

  • John44
    John44over 2 years ago

    From the book page to the camera achievement page is only a little hop and let me tell you
    that all the writing lately did not involved the excellent camera works
    A truly fine and sharp photo of this insect with its extraterrestrial looks

  • Thanks, Maesto G, she’s a gorgeous little thing, I agree. I think it’s those eyes, quite hypnotising! Of course they are known for eating their lovers so I had to keep playing it cool. Grazie mille for the fav:))

    – David Clarke

  • Jo Nijenhuis
    Jo Nijenhuisover 2 years ago

    I liked this so much… Guess what?

    Enjoy the Permanent Featured Gallery – November 10/2012!
    Have a wonderful Week!
    Cheers, Jo ;)

  • Thanks so much, Jo, I’m delighted with that news :))

    – David Clarke

  • John44
    John44about 2 years ago

    Outstanding photography Don Davide
    (tutti va bene??)

  • Grazie mille, Maestro G! – she was a gorgeous young thing and very willing to be photographed. All good – currently in Hong Kong where it’s Chinese New Year, so Kung Hei Fat Choi!! Back to Phuket next week for a couple more months before heading back to European climes. Tutto been con te?

    – David Clarke

  • Johanna26
    Johanna26almost 2 years ago

    Wow what an exceptional capture …. such detail …great shot David

  • Many thanks, Johanna. I think it’s one of my all-time favourites. :))

    – David Clarke

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