Shall We Prey?
The California Buckeye (Junonia coenia), with its bold eyespots and white bars, is an easily recognizable butterfly.
The problem: getting close enough for a photo and then patiently waiting for it to open its wings. At the first indication of danger, it flutters away.
The eyespots are supposed to scare away predators, but they certainly don't scare away a praying mantis.
Kristen Kolb, master gardener extraordinaire who helps tend the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, University of California, Davis, recently spotted a ripped-apart Buckeye in the sedum.
We suspect a praying mantis grabbed it and feasted on the head, thorax and abdomen, leaving behind the wings.
The wings with the bold eyespots.
Buckeye spreads it wings on an African daisy. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Shattered Buckeye, probably the work of a praying mantis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The predator? Could have been this praying mantis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)