Does anyone know anything about these "beneficial" bugs? I am not used to seeing praying mantis with such big black eyes. Does this denote perhaps a mature mantis, or is it an unusual species?
Thanks, Snug, :p)
Maybe female Stagmomantis carolina? "Head and thorax almost as long as the body. Antennae about half as long as middle legs. Pale green to brownish grey, often inconspicuous on vegetation. Males usually brown, females green or brown. Wings do not extend to tip of abdomen, especially in female. (Females apparently flightless, or nearly so.) Abdomen of female strongly widened in middle." I'm not sure about VA, but my understanding is that the only other kind in the Carolinas is a really huge chinese one, so pretty much always if you see one, it's Carolina mantis. I think maybe green eyes is more common, but just googling images shows some brown and black ones.
I think those are pretty typical mantis eyes. Probably they look bigger because of the color contrast.
Thanks for sending the article on the Praying Mantis' secret side. It's very interesting and reveals another side to this benign (?) insect. I am inclined now after reading your article that the praying mantis may have caused the demise of a monarch butterfly, whose wings I saw lying on the ground beside our butterfly bush!