I've always been partial to praying mantids for many reasons. They're beneficial insects, eating aphids and other little pests, and they're kinda cool-looking. I love to find little baby mantids on my plants; they're so cute!
Today, however, I found a GIANT praying mantis on my gone-to-seed parsley plant:
In my book, all praying mantids should be named Monty. This Monty, however, is the biggest one I've ever seen. Maybe he doesn't look that big standing there in the parsley. But check this out:
Here he is with my hand next to him to give the view some perspective. I will admit, my hand is pretty small--probably not much longer than 6" going from base of palm to tip of middle finger. Still, that bugger's HUGE--4" at least. Note the aggressive-looking waving of his little arms in the air! Maybe he's a she--and she's pondering making quick work of my pinky!
I once read an article on the web about praying mantids actually attacking and killing hummingbirds. I bet Monty the Magnificent here could spear him a little hummer with no problems. That's pretty scary; I hope Monty sticks with little insect pests.