Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Praying Mantis

A praying mantis is, according to scientists, quite aware when being watched, at least in laboratory conditions.

Briefly, I fooled myself.

"She's letting me take her picture," I thought.

Clutching the side of the back step, she posed while I practiced with my macro setting. The leaves behind her are on the ground and I'm shooting downward. The fact that she held on like that is how she fooled me. But she's missing one of her antennae and perhaps even a foreleg.

It wasn't her choice to sit still for our photo shoot. The rain or the cold must have killed her.

Still, she hung on.

26 comments:

Dina said...

Praying that all your macros and all your writing will be as wonderful as this!

Joanne said...

The detail with the droplets is really intricate. It's a sad shot, though.

Mister Earl said...

I've only ever seen a praying mantis in video or photograph. When I was around 6, they showed a film on insects, of all things, at our Sunday school. I remember the praying mantis from the film. Maybe they wanted to show us that even insects pray.

Dirk said...

I've seen a few praying mantis (manti?) up close, and they will swivel their heads to look directly at you. It's probably just anthropomorphism, but seeing that triggers something, a desire to connect with them on some level, because we seem to have some small trait in common--could it be curiosity? So yes, this is sad, to me, too. You did connect, beautifully, if posthumously.

Petrea said...

We get them in our yard, so keep an eye open for them, locals. They're very good at camouflage. That's another thing that should have tipped me off. Though sometimes they hang on the screen at night like other bugs.

Careful, though, and don't pick them up. They have a mean bite.

J+P said...

Such rigor in mortis.

TheChieftess said...

Sad for the Mantis...but what a wonderful shot petrea!!! I think you found your macro settings!!!

I didn't know that they bite...I learned something new today!!!

Petrea said...

Good one, J.

I found the settings, Chieftess. Now to just be still long enough to get the shots.

Thib said...

I made a lot of macro shots of all sorts of bugs, but never found a mantis ! Lucky you are ;-)

Lori Webster said...

Poor mantis, but that is a beautiful shot, Petrea!

Irina said...

It is the writers' talent to write the insect story in Shakespeare's drama style. Bravo!))
Great photo.

Bellis said...

That's such an excellent photo - I love the drops of water on the mantis. You may find it hard to get good shots of living insects, though, as they move when they see the camera. I expect it must look like a giant bird's eye or something. (You know, there's no need to tell us when your subjects are dead, he he. We'd never guess.)

altadenahiker said...

I love these origami bugs. Nothing else quite like them in nature, dead or alive.

Petrea said...

What's that bug in your profile photo, Thib? I've never seen it.

Thank you, Lori. And thank you, too, Irina. I'm glad you like it.

I've given you two dead subjects so far, Bellis. (The previous one was a bird.) This one I didn't realize was dead while I was taking the pictures.

Me too, Hiker. Whenever one of us sees one we call to the other. It's an event in our house.

Trish said...

reminds me of a shot I took in Bodie years ago of a dragonfly...I'm quite sure he was alive, but it was RATHER chilly for Labor Day weekend and he wasn't moving from the back slat of an old truck.

LOVE the shot, love the story that goes with it. I'd much prefer a dead something surprise me than a live something surprise me, usually.

Ms M said...

Haunting shot. Mantises (or manti??)are fascinating. This summer one was hanging on the window screen in my office. A co-worker came in and noticed and we began talking about it. Just as we did, it swiveled its head and "looked" right at us. Rather spooky.

Bellis said...

I'm sorry the mantis women eat their men after they've mated. My house spiders do that too. Good thing human women don't do this.

Mister Earl said...

Bellis: They don't?

Petrea said...

A dragonfly sitting still for a photo. Trish, I'm envious.

Ooh, Ms. M! They really are cool.

I agree, Bellis. It's a terrible waste.

Petrea said...

I wasn't ignoring you, Earl, we crossed in the Ether.

But I'll let Bellis answer you.

Bellis said...

I guess you've had some bad experiences, Mr Earl?

Mister Earl said...

No, Bellis. Just an observer of the human condition. ;-) Your comment was a softball in the center of the plate bigger than the one Banjo had on his blog the other day! ;-)

Susan Campisi said...

What a sad and beautiful photo. I like the drops on her antenna. I'm sorry she didn't make it.

Margaret said...

How did I miss this! Amazing. I love the water droplets.

the_sybil said...

I read somewhere recently that Mantis females only eat their partner after mating if they're hungry. I guess the moral of this story is: take her out for dinner first!

Petrea said...

I do like her drops. And I'm pretty sure she died of the cold and not starvation, but the_sybil's idea makes good sense if you're a male mantis planning your next tryst!