Tuesday, September 16, 2008

11th Avenue Mantis















I'm feeling a little better about the Praying Mantis these days since I read an article discounting the assumption that the females of the species are sexual cannibals. According to Dr Beetle they're not all that bad. In one study, they seemed really cool, even.
Refreshingly, a study by Liske and Davis in 1987 threw the first human light on the importance of the natural environment to behavior in mantises. The Chinese mantis Tenodera aridifolia sinensis was among those wrongly accused of sexual cannibalism during mating in several previous studies. However Liske and Davis, although still stuck in the laboratory, made some concessions to the mantis. They fed the mantises regularly, turned the bright observer lights down, and left the room to replace a fidgeting human observer with a stationary video camera. Surprise surprise, no cannibalism occurred! In fact, a whole courtship behavior by the male and female mantises, new to science, was observed!

This one didn't even bite my head off although I was clearly annoying it with all the photography. Have a look at the pose it struck when it had had enough of my lens in its face.


















Had I pushed it to its limit, it might have fully extended its very impressive inner wings, which you can see a hint of in this picture. Here, they're fanned out in full splendor.

4 comments:

M.Thew said...

Such an expresive face. But I fear we will soon see a talking one via Disneypixardreamworks.

AFC said...

Amazing pics..love them...

Brenda from Flatbush said...

My favorite moment in 'Tropic Thunder' was Ben Stiller and the mantis...

amarilla said...

I didn't see that, I'd love to see Ben Stiller and a mantis, though.

The eyes are amazing, aren't they? The pupil (?) seems to slide all over without really being anchored anywhere, I don't think the mantis misses much. Maybe that's why someone used the Greek word for prophet to name it.

I guess it's the size of the eyes that make it ripe for the disneymator's pen. Whatchagonnado?

Thanks, AFC. Did you get yourself that camera?