PlantFiles is getting a new look! Just in time for spring, we're rolling out a new look for the best online plants database. It will also work with your smart phones and mobile devices, so now you can take it with you on garden center visits or botanical garden tours. Questions or comments? Please post them here.
If memory serves, about 1 1/4 inches, stem to stern. We have loads of them here, along with lots of praying mantises also... and our japanese beetle "problem" has been negligible in recent years! I think they are even reducing the stink bug population... There's a lot to be said for reserving pesticides for epidemic infestations... the less you spray, the more you'll build up a population of "beneficial" insects to keep the garden-devouring ones in check.
Now, if only there were beneficial insects that devoured mosquitoes...
I'll add the size to the article. I've read that the bodies can reach 1 1/2" (body, not including the legs) so critterologist and I are pretty close with size estimates. This guy that I photographed was on the big side...he was really scary.
I think I've seen a few that were closer to 1 1/2 inches also... but since I didn't get out a ruler, I was estimating conservatively! And yes, that doesn't include the sticking-out legs! They are startling, at least until you realize they're not coming for you LOL. They mostly move very slowly and deliberately, like praying mantises. The neighborhood kids think they're cool, like dino-bugs. They would be great in a horror movie close-up!
This is one of the most amazing-looking bugs that I have ever seen. Thanks for the pics; I will be on the lookout for them now. I am in SE MA, close to Rhode Island, so maybe I'll get to see a real one. I, personally, think that it is beautiful!
As for praying mantises, we had so many last year, that I lost count. They were huge, too. The largest one was at least 6 inches long. Fascinating and beautiful creatures. I am enclosing a photo I took of 2 of them mating on the side of my house.
But the most fascinating insect was seen in a neighbor's yard, a rhinoceros beetle. Now that looks like a prehistoric animal. I still remember my neighbor running through the back yards yelling, "Get out your son's bug book! Hurry." LOL.
I agree on the size of these cool bugs - and when trees are in leaf, they are very hard to see. In the fall, after leaf drop, but it the weather isn't freezing yet, you might see them more readily. At that time they are either looking for a mate or looking for a nice twig to lay eggs on to overwinter. Like many predatory insects, they have good eyesight in a close range, and will move themselves to the opposite side of the twig or leaf they are hiding on in order to avoid you.
Thanks for the great article, Melody!