W first noticed the praying mantis hatching on the evening of March 22nd. The egg case had been laid on a branch of a small sweetgum tree beside the entrance to the greenhouse. We immediately began photographing, thinking that the hatch would be completed in a few hours. However, it took two to three days and I got my best photos during the daylight.
Newly hatched mantids crawled down and hung in a group from the bottom of the egg case. At first they looked very crumpled but would gradually straighten out to look like they do in these photos.
When they were ready, they dropped off onto the ground approximately three feet below. It seemed impossible that any would survive. However I did see one climbing up a branch a day or so later. So at least one survived the fall.
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