I was pleased as Punch to find this mantid. Usually, if I find a butterfly being eaten, it's more likely to be a crab spider chowing down. Interesting to note, I rarely find mantids these days, even though they're my favorite insect (eh-hem, not Lepidoptera) as evidenced by my 2nd grade show and tell story. It's funny, after all these years, I'm essentially doing show and tell with my blog. Thanks to researching links for this post, I discovered that the numerous mantids I found as a child around the family farm in the Central Valley were Mediterranean mantis (Iris oratoria), another non-native. I'll admit, it would be awesome to find a native California mantid (Stagmomantis californica) in this very remote spot (read: far away from any wannabe garden do-gooders). Do you think there would be more native mantids around had we not inadvertently introduced exotic spp. and now purposely sell and distribute them for pest control? They do eat each other, after all. Nom nom nom.
European mantis details: 65mm long with white spot bordered by black on inside front coxa
Mantis religiosa in praying position