But as I was walking on the trail back from Fox, having checked the water and refilled the bird feeder, I saw something sort of skitter in front of my feet. Took a picture before I even bent down closer, in case it took off (lesson learned from the tiger beetle, which *did* fly away as soon as I bent over.)
Meet something called the "Minor Ground Mantis." On the left, the entire critter. That sort of "chicken wire" or "herringbone" effect on its top is a pair of folded wings. On the right, the head...and notice how it keeps the front "grabbing" legs tightly folded up against the body.
The long wings (they reach almost to the tip of the abdomen) mean it's an adult male. The species is Litaneutria minor. Despite the wings, this fellow preferred to escape capture by jumping and then skittering and he was very good at it.
I've now seen and photographed three native mantid species on the place: Scudder's Mantis (a grassland species, clinging upright to a grass stem) and the beautiful big green female Stagmomantis sp. I posted awhile back on that purple flower. I don't know how many kinds of mantis we might have.