At Upolu Airport, where I go walking a lot, there’s a mock orange hedge with a passion vine running through it. I check this hedge to see what’s happening on it and lately, it’s been overrun by flies. I don’t know why this is, but I wasn’t surprised when I noticed two praying mantises stationed in the hedge. They were having a field day.
The flies would flit around as flies do, but when one settled, a mantis would strike. Their success rate was quite high, but the flies were easy targets. The safest place to be was on one of the mantises, but that wasn’t a long term solution.
The scene remained the same over three or four days, and then, though the flies were still around, the mantises disappeared. I guess that’s understandable. I mean, how many flies do you think you could eat before you’d start looking for something different?
This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Wild and Weird.’ See more responses here.
No matter how you look at them, there’s something wild and weird about praying mantises. They look like Popeye with that spindly body and bulging forearms (no pipe though). Parts of them look like they came off the production line with some assembly still required. They remain motionless for long periods, watching, waiting. When they do move, it’s with a constant back and forth motion to sneak up on prey. Then they strike like a cobra and make short work of their victims.
And yet I find that despite all this weirdness, there’s something endearing about them. They put up with intrusive photographers and they keep still for them. What’s not to like.
Also posted in response to Becky’s July Squares challenge theme of ‘Perspective.’ See more responses here.
This week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Rails.’ See more responses here.
Here’s a praying mantis on a railing. Typically, I line up photos where horizons are horizontal and strong vertical lines are vertical. This photo’s an exception. I think the off-kilter lines complement the off-kilter appearance of the mantis, especially since this mantis had lost an eye and a leg, hence the title of this post.
I usually think of praying mantises as just that, but there are more than 2,000 mantis varieties. Ones that are most often seen in Hawaii include Giant Asian mantis (Hierodula patellifera), Carolina mantis (Stagmomantis carolina), and European mantis (Mantis religiosa).
This one is probably a Giant Asian mantis. While I usually see green mantises, they can change color so this reddish one is not that unusual.
This praying mantis landed on a vehicle window and instantly became reflective. Perhaps it was feeling introspective. Perhaps it has multiple personalities. Perhaps it’s just trying to get away from me.
Yesterday, I posted about the dangers geckos pose to a praying mantis that has been living on a spider lily.
Today’s post is about the advantage of that location for the mantis. The primary benefit is that the spider lily’s flowers attract wasps, bees and other insects. In these photos, the mantis has caught a good-sized paper wasp, securely held by its forelegs. It held the wasp in that position for a while, but once it began its meal, it made short work of devouring the wasp. Next day I saw it with a bee and a beetle.
As the spider lily flowers fade, new ones pop up on other stalks, so the insect attraction has been fairly continuous.