Images of small things from the biggest county in Texas #534 – Preying mantis using his god given talents to hide in plain sight!

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I have been overwhelmed with  the gifts  that have shown up from my simple request of a praying mantis  to show himself for photographs and observation. I was happy and felt my prayers answered. Next day, with no further asking,  another one appears and I get to  find more than I had asked for. I watch him lie in wait, to attack and devour several small skippers all the while getting to observe and photograph. I am awestruck and a bit amazed.

So while my praying for praying mantises was for one purpose.  God not only answered my asking, He showed me more than what was just before my eyes.

I was amazed at the mantises  ability to be there and strike, to be seen and yet unseen.  Only by going slowly through my  images of the attack could I see the simplicity of  plan.

The mantis used its  God given tools: his color, his shape and quickness.  Ironically his camouflage and ability to remain hidden and the ability to not stand out was his strongest asset. It was how he was provided with the ability to gather his daily bread.

Oh how often I try and use my gifts as camouflage and fit in, rather than stand out. So much to learn grasshopper. ††† en theos ††† jim work

Images of small things from the biggest county in Texas #527 – Now I know why they are also called “preying” mantises! “

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Okay, I didn’t at all plan to post another praying mantis image so soon. But, you gotta roll with what comes at you. I was doing some grilling for lunch. Right beside the patio are these lantana that were just abuzz with these cute little skippers. I couldn’t resist and went into predator (almost a pun) mode, stalking these flighty little buzz bombs. One landed real near and sat still long enough (too long) for me to inch closer, focus and click off a couple of frames.

Then in a flash (pardon the pun) the little skipper disappeared. I figured he just got spooked and took flight. As I started to pull away I caught (okay, almost another pun) sight of the little yellow fellow. He was in the grasp of a previously unseen stealthy preying mantis. He was quickly being consumed for lunch. In the span of less than a minute there was nothing left but a couple of wings.  Evidently the mantis don’t like wings, he spat them out.

I swear I heard a whimper followed by a slight burp. Never heard grace said from the praying er preying mantis.

eat em where you find em ††† en theos ††† jim work

Images of small things from the biggest county in Texas #525 – Been praying for a praying mantis & look what showed up!

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I have been searching high and low for one of these rascals literally for the past couple of weeks they have been on my radar. Today, while walking to the mailbox, I darn near walked right past this guy sitting on the top of my front gate.

I geared up an seized the moment. While processing the images I did have to ask what was God thinking when he made this creature. The answer came back as you asked for one and you got it. Don’t push it.

Probably more info then you want to know, but this creature just fascinates me. Oh geez, I am becoming a bug nerd.

The English common name for any species in the order is “praying mantis“, because of the typical “prayer-like” posture with folded fore-limbs, although the eggcorn “preying mantis” is sometimes used in reference to their predatory habits. In Europe and other regions, the name “praying mantis” refers to only a single species, Mantis religiosa. The closest relatives of mantises are the termites and cockroaches (order Blattodea). They are sometimes confused with phasmids (stick/leaf insects) and other elongated insects such asgrasshoppers and crickets.

Mantises have two grasping, spiked forelegs (“raptorial legs”) in which prey items are caught and held securely. In most insect legs, including the posterior four legs of a mantis, the coxa and trochanter combine as an inconspicuous base of the leg; in the raptorial legs however, the coxa and trochanter combine to form a segment about as long as the femur, which is a spiky part of the grasping apparatus (see illustration). Located at the base of the femur are a set of discoidal spines, usually four in number, but ranging from zero to as many as five depending on the species. These spines are preceded by a number of tooth-like tubercles, which, along with a similar series of tubercles along the tibia and the apical claw near its tip, give the foreleg of the mantis its grasp on its prey. The foreleg ends in a delicate tarsus made of between four and five segments and ending in a two-toed claw with no arolium and used as a walking appendage.

The mantis thorax consists of a prothorax, a mesothorax, and a metathorax. In all species apart from the genus Mantoida, the prothorax, which bears the head and forelegs, is much longer than the other two thoracic segments. The prothorax is also flexibly articulated, allowing for a wide range of movement of the head and forelimbs while the remainder of the body remains more or less immobile. The articulation of the neck is also remarkably flexible; some species of mantis can rotate the head nearly 180 degrees.

Mantids may have a visual range of up to 20 metres. Their compound eyes may comprise up to 10,000 ommatidia. The eyes are widely spaced and laterally situated, affording a wide binocular field of vision) and, at close range, precise stereoscopic vision. The dark spot on each eye is a pseudopupil. As their hunting relies heavily on vision, mantids are primarily diurnal. Many species will however fly at night, and then may be attracted to artificial lights. Nocturnal flight is especially important to males in search of less-mobile females that they locate by detecting their pheromones. Flying at night exposes mantids to fewer bird predators than diurnal flight would. Many mantises also have an auditory thoracic organ that helps them to avoid bats by detecting their echolocation and responding evasively.

enjoy ††† en theos ††† jim work