Interesting Critters in my Back Yard II: Mantids
We have several species of these in West Texas. This one isn't particularly large, and you ought to be able to get a feeling of scale from the brickwork. When I was a kid we lived in Panama, however, and some of the mantid species down there were truly of epic proportions: They were large enough to snatch hummingbirds out of the air and eat them! They have always been one of my favorite insects, and I've read that they are very highly evolved among insects in general, as well as being some of the "smartest" insects. Imagine one of these large enough to confront a human and possessing a decent sized brain, and you can envision something truly fearsome. In fact, I remember some "soldiers in space" movie where the insectoid adversaries were obviously based on mantids, so I'm certainly not the first to think of it.
Remember this young lady from the first post in this series?
I was wondering what on earth she was doing out and about at circa 2:00 PM in the afternoon, and now I know: She was looking for someplace to call home.
The concrete at the bottom of the photo is the edge of my patio, and she has set up shop under the large rock in the lower right hand corner of the snapshot. Notice the amount of excavation! It's amazing how strong arachnids are for their size and how much work they can do.
The background here is actually a naked, cloudless sky. I like how the color gradation progresses from the lower left up to the top right. Subject matter is pretty impressive as well. Wish this critter lived in my back yard.
Posting will continue to be light for a while, as I have too many irons in the fire at the moment, but I have a backlog of musical posts I want to get to, so check back periodically. Right now I'm in the process of setting up a real, actual, professionally hosted site under my own name as the domain, and it's quite a bit of work I'm looking at.