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A few weeks ago, I started noticing a lot of praying mantis eggs and decided to collect a few for the fun of it so I could observe how they hatched. A praying mantis egg is very odd looking. At first glance, you might think it is a large brown nut or fungi growing on a tree. The egg is oval shaped; the outer shell is yellowish brown, slightly transparent, and flexible with a space separating the inner egg from the outer shell. The inner egg is spongy and tear-dropped shaped, and it’s made up of many layers. In between each layer, there are chambers, and each chamber contains a little larva.
I have wondered how baby praying mantises emerge through the tough outer shell, so to satisfy my curiosity, I found three eggs and placed them in a sunny spot by the window for easy observation. From what I have seen, the mother mantises lay their eggs where they always get plenty of sunshine. I waited patiently week after week with no results until one morning I noticed two small grubs hanging on a thread from the egg. Over the next few minutes, they went through a metamorphic change from grubs to miniature praying mantises.
It was fascinating to watch and, as the minutes passed, the little guys started to take shape. They stretched out slowly. First the legs broke away from the body, and then the head appeared. When the time came, they detached themselves from the thread that held them suspended. By the end of the morning, there were four mantises, not the hundreds I was expecting. I carefully placed them outside and hoped they would survive the first day.
It wasn’t many mornings later that we awoke to see our window covered with the little insects. This new batch of baby mantises were energized and on the move. We gently herded them all out through a crack and watched them crawl away.
I didn’t get to see how they got out of the shell, but the transformation from a little grub into a praying mantis was pretty cool to watch. It’s amazing how God designed this intricate process. It’s even more amazing to think that something so small and insignificant as a praying mantis is known and provided for by its Creator. How much more so are we, formed before birth in his image, loved and cared for?
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