By Wendy Langhans
When our daughter was a baby, I often heard friends say, “She has your eyes.” It’s true - she did (and still does). This idea of family resemblance is charactistic of most mammals; the puppy (or kitty or child) resembles the adult it will become. But this is not true of most insects. In about 88%  of all species of insects, the juveniles do not resemble the adults. These insects go through a four stage transformation known as complete metamorphasis: egg => larva => pupa => adult. The larva and pupa do not resemble the adult.
But about 12% of insects undergo a three stage transformation known as incomplete metamorphosis: egg => nymph => adult. In incomplete metamorphosis, the nymph looks somewhat like a miniature version of the adult. One of the insects undergoing imcomplete metamorphosis is the Praying Mantis .
Recently, the mother of my young friend Drew sent me photos of a Praying Mantis he had spotted in his back yard. Here’s her story:
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“A few days ago, Drew was shooting baskets on our patio and noticed something on the post of our patio cover. He called me outside ‘to see the grasshopper.’ I told him what it really was, my favorite insect, a Praying mantis, and he was even more fascinated.”
“We watched that mantis climb up the post for about fifteen minutes, when Drew realized the little bugger was getting itself into a position where it was going to fall. At that point, he wanted to help it and so he ran inside to get our soft Ohio State blanket to put down on the concrete around the post. Not two minutes later, the mantis did indeed fall and landed unharmed on Drew's ‘safety blanket’!”
After hearing her story, it occurred to me that family resemblance isn’t limited to looks alone. It can be also be found in the attitudes and actions we model for our children. As my grandma was fond of saying, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I guess that’s also true for Praying Mantises.
Upcoming Outdoor Events:
Saturday, September 23, 11 AM, Family Nature Walk at Placerita Canyon. 1 PM, Live Animal Presentation. For more information, click here .
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You can listen to stories like this every Friday morning at 7:10 a.m. on "The Hike Report", brought to you by your hometown radio station KHTS (AM1220) and by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.