Plenty of predators

While watching several funnel spiders in a 10 foot square area, a glance around revealed more than just spiders. There are many animals of all kinds on these plants.


How many preying mantises can you spot in this photo?

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There are three. Here are closer photos. Can you spot them in the top photo now?


The preying mantis is a nondiscriminate eater, much like the funnel spider. It will even watch you, measuring you up as it measures everything in pursuit of a meal. Reader Kay Neff says, "As a child I used to keep crickets, grasshoppers, katydid, mantises (until a big 4 - incher bit me hard on the finger!), etc. in the large bug box my dad built for me."

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But more likely they are watching for other prey like the kaytdid, ailanthus webworm moth and hummingbird hawk moth that were at that same time on the dwarf Alberta spruce. Who knows how many more there were we didn't see? Any type of spraying will kill all of them, not just a particular target insect that's in your sights.

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Pesticides can have an adverse effect on the predator population including this guy who was camped out two feet up in another dwarf spruce two steps away. Who'd a thunk it, a spruce climbing garter snake.

To kill a predator is much more upsetting to a natural balance than killing a prey creature. It takes much longer for Nature to re-establish a lion than to replace one antelope, and the same goes for insects and their predators. You're the only predator remaining to keep the "bad guys" in check if you wipe out your local predators!