A friend of mine mentioned to me Saturday that he had seen a praying mantis for sale at a local pet shop. I’ve been meaning to get some mantids to photograph for some time, but they are very rarely offered for sale around Vancouver. So I dropped by the pet shop yesterday to take a look. Sure enough they had a nice big, green mantid for sale. Not surprisingly I didn’t recognize the species. So I went up to the clerk to get some information about the animal and its care. To make a long story short, they had absolutely no idea what species it was or where it came from. The best they could do was say was that it was imported from the USA. Unbelievable! I posted the entire, somewhat bizarre conversation on my blog, along with a couple more photos.
I took the photos using a white box made from foam core, illuminated with a single flash.
I suspect that this little beast is a giant Asian mantis, Hierodula membranacea, but I still need to confirm the identification...
Oh, and the answer to my question is four. It took four clerks to sell me this mantid.