They hatched. Like the arrival of the hummingbirds and bobolinks, seeing the tiny 1/2 inch praying mantis hop around on the plants is yet another summer backyard entertainment highlight. It doesn't take much to entertain me...bugs, birds, turtles, toads. (Wait until I write the article about feeding grasshoppers to orb weaver spiders -- very cool). The question is - what does a mantis do for the environment. Actually its half and half. Mantis are simply a part of our ecosystem. Its interesting to note some oddities about mantis. The females eat the males while mating. (Holy shit!) And their main predators are bats which they have suepr-sensitive ears and can hear them coming. Lastly, and what I found the most freakish, while we always assumed they eat other bugs -- spiders, crickets, aphids -- they are carnivorous and full grown adults will also eat mice, lizards and hummingbirds! They'll disguise themselves in a flower, and paralyze the hummer in the neck and immediately start eating it at the neck area. Fascinating. So watch your praying mantis - it may eat your pet lizard if you aren't careful!