Monday, May 31, 2010

#301 China...Thanks Ma!

The left 2 yuan stamp is from 1992 Insects issue showing Chinese mantis (Tenodera sinensis) which is a species of praying mantis.

The Chinese mantis looks like a long and slender praying mantis, with different shades of brown. The adult has a green lateral line down its front wings. It is typically larger than most other mantises, growing up to 10 cm (4 inches) in length, and are the largest mantis species in North America. This species is often erroneously given the taxonomic name of Tenodera aridifolia sinensis. When first classified, it was thought that T. sinensis was a subspecies of T. aridifolia but this is not the case.

Their diet consists primarily of other insects, though adult females can sometimes take down small vertebrate prey such as reptiles and amphibians (some have also been documented predating on hummingbirds). Like some other mantids, they are known to be cannibalistic. The female can produce several spherical ootheca roughly the size of a table tennis ball, containing up to 200 eggs. The ootheca are often affixed to vegetation such as bushes and small trees, as seen in the image below.

Their color can vary from overall green to brown with a green lateral stripe on the edge of the front wings. In low light the eyes of the mantis appear black, but in daylight appear to be clear, matching the color of the head.

The right 2 yuan stamp was issued in 1992 commemorating 20th Anniv. of Normalization of Diplomatic Relations between China and Japan.

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