Among all the insects in southern Michigan, few grow to an impressive size. Of these, perhaps the most recognized is the praying mantis (family Mantidae). Even though they’re fairly common it’s still really cool to find an especially large adult. I just happened to stumble across this one on an American red raspberry (Rubus ideaus, Rosaceae) in my garden. It was about six inches long. Given the swollen abdomen, I also suspect it was very pregnant.
Perhaps the most interesting feature of this insect are the raptorial front limbs. They use them to capture and hold prey which they then consume. If you’ve never seen a praying mantis eat, it’s worth the effort.