Praying mantis and gecko

For the past three weeks, this praying mantis has been a fixture on this spider lily. The downside of this location is that the plant is a favorite spot for gold dust day geckos. The geckos would no doubt like to eat the mantis, but have so far not made a move that I’ve seen. I suspect that one reason for this is that the geckos have learned that, while the mantis looks like it never moves, when they do, they move fast. A few futile sorties against a mantis would make any gecko decide to seek easier prey.

Tomorrow, I’ll post about the upside of this location for the mantis.


Abstracts: Flies on a cow

I always feel a bit sorry for cows that are plagued by the masses of flies that gather on their bodies. But I also find interesting the patterns made by the black and white cows, the direction of their hairs and the black spots of the flies themselves.

Kilauea Iki Trail

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Paths.’ (See more offerings here.)

Kilauea Iki Trail is one of the more popular trails in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. But last year’s volcanic activity, with numerous earthquakes, resulted in the park being closed for several months. Even after it reopened in September 2018, many parts of the park remained closed because the areas were too unstable to be opened to the public.

The Kilauea Iki Trail was one of those areas along with Thurston Lava Tube and Jaggar Museum. The latter two locations are still closed and Jagger Museum may never be reopened, but the Kilauea Iki Trail is currently listed as mostly open. Given that this is a loop trail, it would be wise to check ahead and find out what ‘mostly open’ means.

These photos were taken during a hike I took a couple of years back. The top photo shows the view from the part of the trail that follows the rim of the crater before it descends to the crater floor. Top left, shows two hikers heading out across the crater floor. The dark hill in the background is Pu‘u Pua‘i where a 1959 eruption poured lava out into the crater. Bottom left shows hikers near the center of the crater where the path winds through broken areas of the crater floor. Below, cairns mark the trail across a flat area of the crater that leads to the switchback trail which takes hikers back up to the crater rim.

For more information about Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, go to

Keck 1 and 2 telescopes

This week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Twins.’ (See more responses here.)

These are the two telescopes of the W. M. Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea. Keck 1 began operation in November, 1990, while Keck 2 made its first observations in October 1996. Each telescope’s 10-meter primary mirror is made up of 36 segments, hexagonal in shape. Not that these segments are small themselves. Each one is 1.8 meters wide and weighs half a ton.

The telescopes can accommodate a wide variety of instruments, such as cameras and spectrometers, and are considered to be the most scientifically productive in the world.

For more information about the W. M. Keck Observatory, go to

Cairn and Mauna Kea

This cairn is one of many that mark the path of the Pu’u O’o Trail, off Saddle Road. At various spots, the trail offers good views of Mauna Kea such as this one.

Sunny grasshopper

A grasshopper (schistocerca nitens) suns itself on the edge of a leaf.

Costus lucanusianus

Costus lucanusianus is a native of tropical Africa. It’s also known as spiral ginger or African spiral flag. It’s related to true gingers and the ‘spiral’ in the name comes from the arrangement of the leaves on the stems.

This one was at Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden. For more information about Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, go to

Green Lake

Green Lake was, until June 2 last year, Hawaii’s biggest freshwater lake. This isn’t a dramatic claim since freshwater lakes are in short supply in Hawaii. There are only two freshwater lakes on the Big Island, the other being Lake Waiau, near the summit of Mauna Kea. Green Lake had a surface area of about 2 acres and was no more than 20 feet deep in the center, but it was a popular spot with both locals and tourists who liked to swim and picnic there.

The lava flow from last year’s eruption in lower Puna at first curled around the pu’u, the center of which was Green Lake. But on June 2, the flow breeched the surrounds, boiled away the water and filled it with lava.

The top photo shows that pu’u that contained Green lake, now filled with lava. The bottom photo shows Green Lake in relation to the flow and the area around it. The lava came from the upper left of the photo. It flowed around the pu’u and entered the lake from the southeast. The photo also shows how the flow reached the coast. The area in the top right of the photo used to be Kapoho Bay and its surrounding housing. A white speck is visible on the edge of this flow, which is one of only three houses there that survived the flow’s destructive progress.

At the bottom of the lower photo is untouched land, including a road that runs into, and now terminates, at the flow’s edge.