gochfeld at eohsi.rutgers.edu
Thu Aug 6 08:59:50 EDT 1998
Mantids are excellent butterfly predators. Unlike the hornets and
dragonflies, they are ambush predators, and are incredibly patient.
You can get rid of those pesky skippers and swallowtails with a few
well-placed mantids in your butterfly bush.
I've watched several mantids in our bush through the years (I don't have
enough patience to watch them often). I haven't yet seen one take a bee
or wasp, they seem to specialize on butterflies. Maybe that's a New
One thing I have studied is the prey of ambush bugs and crab spiders.
There is a strong preponderance of Cabbage Whites. I'm trying to
figure out whether this is because dangling White butterflies attract
my attention (I miss more subtly-colored species), or whether Cabbage
Whites are simply the most abundant prey available, or whether the
predators select flowers that are attractive to the most abundant
species. One of our students suggested that butteflies are merely
occasional snacks for these predators which eat mainly small
hymenopterans and dipterans.
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