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Photo by Alex MacLean
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Creature Feature: Praying Mantids

The Ed Center is bursting with life and features countless examples of the park’s ecology, sustainability, and history. In the room there is an area called Creature Feature, which houses critters that call Brooklyn Bridge Park home. Each month we’d like to introduce you to these critters, the first being our Praying Mantids. There are two mantids that you can see up close in the Ed Center, but they can also be found wild in the park!

Praying mantids have a mystical past, many ancient societies believed they had supernatural powers. Ancient Greeks thought mantids had the ability to show lost travelers the way home, while Ancient Egyptians thought they led souls of the dead to the underworld.

Praying mantis with one of it’s eggs

Today, their name and calm stance leads many to believe that mantids are docile insects, when in fact they are fierce ambush predators. This makes them helpful to the health of the park because they help to maintain the ecological balance by eating pests such as flies, crickets, moths, and mosquitoes. Further adding to their ferocity, after mating the female mantis will eat the male for nourishment.

Combined, our mantids have laid 7 eggs sacs, each carrying hundreds of babies! The eggs will overwinter – cease all activity in the cold months – and then hatch in the spring. Come to the Ed Center during our open hours to see these incredible insects up close, maybe you’ll even catch them while they’re feeding.

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