This was an insect I’d never seen before starting this project. There are actually quite a few I’d never seen in terms of individual species but I feel like in general I’d seen a wasp, I’d seen a bee, I’d seen a katydid… but this insect was completely new to me in all my 40+ years. Looking at the interesting front legs I thought it might be related to the praying mantis but it is, instead, related to the assassin bug.
This is a jagged ambush bug – genus Phymata.
Interesting note – I originally believed this was mating behavior but after some research I found some information on bugguide.net that the image below shows what is called coupling and it is not, in fact, mating. It may be a way for the insects to hunt together and take down larger prey.
This is one of the over 100 species of insects I’ve photographed on my mountain mint plants this summer. I will continue to post as I have time to edit. In the meantime, if you’d like to see what’s been posted so far look at the menu above under “In the Garden” and “Native Plants.” Every day I still find 2 – 3 species I had not yet photographed. And I’m over 100 so far… it’s really incredible. If you’re looking for a plant that really provides support for a huge number of insects consider adding this one to your garden and strengthen you’re backyard ecosystem!