National Geographic : 1950 May
692 John G. Pilkin Even a Mantis, Glimpsing Herself in a Mirror, Can't Resist the Feminine Urge to Primp With her long middle leg, guided by a muscular forelimb, the pert insect almost seems to powder her nose. Actually, she watches herself do the after-dinner clean-up. Such unexpected antics, with the natural curiosity common to her kind, make the creatures interesting pets. During their early lives, from May to August, young mantids are seldom seen. Mosquito-size on hatching, they "disappear" until they reach maturity. Even then, light green and buff in color, they blend with the vegetation and may be passed unnoticed a few feet away. Tropical species far outdo their northern relatives at the art of camouflage. Some have brightly colored, petallike lobes on body and limbs to lure flower-haunting insects. Kept indoors, a mantis may live a month or so beyond its normal span of life. Inevitably, as autumn progresses. it grows drowsy, loses its appetite, and dies. Through winter's cold the future of the genus rests with the countless egg cases scattered throughout the countryside.