One of the kids spotted this praying mantis hanging around between the rain gutter downspout and the brick wall. They are such cool guys---the kids and mantises! The head has such maneuverability. It was obvious when it was looking at you.
I read that the closest relatives of praying mantises are roaches and termites. Our school has had its share of those, too. Once, I came to begin a new year and discovered that termites had been munching on my Lincoln Logs while I was gone. And roaches? Well, we do live in Florida.
I also read that they can bite.
As the mother of two sons who are involved in prescribed fire (controlled burns) for healthy forests, I was interested to read that some praying mantises in Australia and Africa have the ability to molt and turn black after a fire in order to have better camouflage in the charred area.