So this summer is an experiment to see if I can stock the fields and garden with praying mantises. I’ll have to say, I haven’t seen any of the released mantids but I wanted to say a few words about my history with this insect.
My paternal grandfather was a doctor and he had a fellow physician who liked to give books as gifts to his friend’s children. And one of these gifts was a very handsome edition of Fabre’s Book of Insects to my father when he was a boy. Well, in my turn I inherited this book and I was fascinated by the author’s scientific investigation of the common insects to be found around the fields of Provence, France and charmed by the very attractive illustrations that adorned its pages. In fact I still enjoy looking through the book and seeing these pictures eighty six years after it was published. And I’ve provided copies of the book to my own grandsons to try to capture that same sense of wonder at combining nature and art in a form that a young boy can enjoy.
So I’m juxtaposing the original inspiration of my interest in the mantids with my own modest attempts to document their fascinating existence.