Out watering the plants and doing my routine check in the backyard this evening, I found not only the fat green treefrog (Dryophytes cinereus) on the trumpet flower that I photographed a few nights ago, but a Carolina mantis not too far away on the same plant. Carolina mantises are much smaller than the Chinese and this was not an impressive specimen, perhaps topping 6cm. Having seen too few of these this year, I went in and grabbed the camera as soon as I was done with the watering to get a few pics, noting as I did so that this wasn’t the safest location for the mantis, being within 25cm of the frog.
On my return, there was no sign of either, and it had only been a couple of minutes – neither species tends to move around that much. Then I found the treefrog.
This was not at all where it had been, but just underneath the spot where the mantis had been (that’s a flower bud that it’s clinging to, by the way.) This did not bode well for the mantis, but I commenced a careful check of the surroundings in case it had effected an escape – the treefrog’s change in position seemed to indicate that it had at least taken a shot.
But there was no sign of the mantis, and as I observed the frog, it made a little ‘lip smack,’ a motion that they often do after eating something – perhaps it helps to work the meal down or something; I’ve seen the anoles do it too. Since it repeated this behavior every fifteen seconds or so, it took a few tries but I managed to capture it.
I have no other way of determining the mantid’s fate, but I consider this pretty solid evidence that it became a treefrog’s repast. Of course it happened between observations, when I was already aware of the potential. Ah well – that’s how it goes.