Thursday, October 22, 2009

Praying Mantis Cryptic Coloration

This mantis rode into the house on an armful of Pure Florida oak firewood last weekend. Katie spotted him scampering up the rock face of the fireplace, so I caught him and released him on the porch.

It was night, but he hung around, so I grabbed the camera and captured his image to share with y'all.

I don't know this species, because ... I've never bothered to look it up ... surprise!

I just call these by the name Oak Mantis, because they are superbly matched to the oak bark around here ... especially the mottled smooth bark of younger oaks. They count on their camo and usually do not move until you are unknowingly about to place a hand on them.

They are pretty flat too, and the combo of colors and flatness just makes them part of the tree.

Their hunting equipment is pretty amazing.

Remember that old,old, scifi movie ? ... "The Deadly Mantis" ... I think that was the title.

Giant mantis created by atomic explosions wreaks havoc on civilization!

That movie scared me as a kid, but now I know too much stuff ... gravity makes big bugs impossible.
I find that reassuring.


kevin said...

Thank God for gravity.

Anonymous said...

Looks like you scared the pee out of him. Guess it's even now!

Love the new header.


robin andrea said...

Love the colors on that mantis. I bet he really does blend right into the trees.

lisa said...

Wow, never saw anything like it before!

Miz S said...

Funny you should post this today. Last night I was re-reading Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard, and there was an interesting piece of a chapter on praying mantises.

(Read the book if you never have. You'll thank me.)

who wouda thunk it?? said...

I looked it up fer ya. That is a grizzled mantis, or Florida bark mantis..

Anonymous said...

Gravity, really? I can sleep again.

Lady Jane said...

Totally off topic, but I just wanted to say "GREAT PIX" on your header!

edifice rex said...

Yeah, but those things still give me the willies.
Something about the way they will acknowledge you by turning their head to look directly at you. Eeeeee!

Deb said...

I don't think we have those here in Minnesotarctica. Although I do have a Mantis brand rototiller I'm very happy with.

nfmgirl said...

Wow! What a beauty! They freak me out a little, but I can still appreciate their beauty. I actually appreciate the way that they are "aware" of you. Very alert.

edifice rex: I can handle a mantis looking at me. But a roach? Now THAT will give you willies. I used to tell people "You know a roach is big when you go to walk past it, and it turns its head to follow your every movement." *enter WILLIES here*

I also used to say that you know a spider is big when it leaps off the wall, hits the floor with a quiet *thunk*, and then you hear the *tick tick tick* of its legs as it runs across the linoleum! *enter GIRLIE SHRIEK here*

Welcome to Florida!

Floridacracker said...

Thanks for the great comments, I laughed through the whole list!
I was late getting back here, sorry!

LaDivaCucina said...

Cool! Why do I love some big bugs and am not afraid to hold/catch them and others gross me out!!!

Hey PF, did you ever post a birdie book for me? Let me know if you do (by email)? Thank you!

Ericka said...

i'm glad you saved him. her. whatever. they're so cool.

i have a sizable spider that built its web from my porch light down to my door. every time i go outside, it runs up its web to the porch light. i've discussed location with it several times, but more decisive measures may be necessary.

Carol Johnstone said...

I was just about to put the same comment, that was enjoyable to say the least, some natural born comedians here!!

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