The current Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Close ups and Macros.’ See more responses here. Here’s a selection of some little creatures up close and personal.
This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Summer Bugs.’ (See more responses here.) To the best of my knowledge, Hawaii’s bugs are pretty much the same year-round. Here are some of them.
The top photo shows a bee showing impressive balance on a maiapilo flower.
Next up, clockwise from top left: Getting down to eye level with a juvenile praying mantis. A painted lady butterfly on a kiawe tree. A katydid wondering what it’s done to deserve this much attention. A seven-spotted lady beetle being watched.
The final gallery: Top left: A mango flower beetle explores a spider lily. Top right: A watchful cane spider wondering if it should run, very fast, away. Bottom left: A Hawaiian carpenter ant (Camponotus variegatus), one of too many that have taken up residence in the house. Bottom right: A rusty millipede deciding that it’s all too much!
When I’m out walking, I rarely see praying mantis egg sacs. They’re no more than an inch long and they can blend in with the trees and branches where they tend to be found. However, on a recent walk on the coast, I saw these three sacs in the space of 20 minutes, the top two on branches and the third on a tree trunk.
I’m not sure why they caught my eye, though this is the time of year when they’re typically seen. Perhaps it was because I was watching for butterflies and dragonflies, so was paying a bit more attention to details than usual.
Each sac can contain up to 300 eggs. The eggs are encased in foam, called ootheca, which hardens into the sacs seen here. The sac in the middle photo was crawling with ants, which I suspect is not good news for the would-be mantises inside.
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 young praying mantis was perched on an agave attenuata, but its tail-up pose, and the direction of the photo, give at strange appearance.
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.
Thanks to Hawai’i Insect ID for help with identifying this. For more information about Hawai’i Insect Identification, go to flickr.com/groups/hawaii-insect-id/pool/.