Thursday, August 8, 2013

Praying or Preying?

"We mean you no harm.  We've come for your men."

An enormous praying mantis was on the ceiling of the front porch this evening. It was motionless and I thought it was stuck in a spider web. I gently moved it with the broom handle and found that it was perfectly alive and well. The motionless must be part of its hunting technique. I have never seen a mantis this large.

It politely cooperated when I took photos, thoughtfully remaining in one place while I got the camera. I noticed that it turned its head, sizing up the threat I might be presenting. Maybe it was deciding if I was potential prey. When an insect turns its head to look at you with both eyes, you have my permission to feel just a tiny bit disconcerted.

It is a fantastic creature, a feat of engineering and exoskeleton design. The slender, jointed construction of its hard shelled body appears alien and impossible. I marveled over the delicate front claws. Mostly I was glad it was a mere six inches in length. If it and its brethern were six feet long instead, human beings would have a tremendous fight for dominance of the earth.

Post Script:  Thank you to Cyberkit for the suggested caption! 

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