glf-mantis-27bSo there was a praying mantis on the screen outside our kitchen window this afternoon. When Pat first spotted it, the mantis appeared to be about to grab a lady bug, and we tapped on the window and expressed our disapproval. The mantis desisted and the lady bug went on its way.

I was glad, because I like both lady bugs and praying mantises. Well, I did anyway. Many people cringe at the site of a mantis, but I’ve always thought of the mantis as kind of regal, introspective — sort of a symbol of peace.

I got to wondering why it is that one sees only one praying mantis at a time. When was the last time you saw two of them together? I always tell my students that when a question like that arises in their minds, they shouldn’t let the moment pass without searching out the answer and adding to their store of knowledge.

praymantisI took my own advice and looked around the Web for the answer. I didn’t find an answer to my original question, but I learned a lot of other things, disgusting things, about these creatures. I guess I knew they were carnivores, because they get credit for keeping the insect population under control. I didn’t know that they can get as big as six inches long — not in the United States, fortunately, and that they will attack and eat almost anything. I found a video of a mantis devouring a mouse.

praying mantis 2And then … then I came to the part about cannibalism — including sexual cannibalism. Trust me, you don’t want to know.

Before I had the wisdom to stop reading, I found out that the mantis is thought to have evolved from the roach family, which now strikes me as fitting.

For a couple of generations, kids have been told by presumably well-meaning adults that it is a crime to kill a praying mantis. I found several sites, including Snopes, that claimed that there is no such state or federal law. I also found sites that claimed that the mantis is protected in Connecticut, where it is the state insect, but the Praying Mantis Page on the state’s official Web site doesn’t mention that.

You can read Connecticut’s rationale at this link:

http://www.ct.gov/ctportal/cwp/view.asp?A=885&Q=246504


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21 Responses to “File this under “Leave Well Enough Alone””

  1. October 20, 2009 at 11:45 pm Yeah…they are disturbing creatures. Look like mini-aliens. I’m NOT a fan for most of the reasons you’ve listed above!

    peace,
    Donna

    Reply
  2. Scikid Says:

    October 21, 2009 at 12:12 am I agree! Both mantisies and ladybugs are really cool!
    Also, nice pictures! Where did you get them from?

    Scikid

    Reply
  3. Scikid Says:

    October 21, 2009 at 12:13 am Can I be on your blogroll?

    http://helpcooltheearth.wordpress.com/
    Scikid

    Reply
  4. Stéphane Says:

    October 21, 2009 at 12:34 am I have always been fascinated by praying mantises, even though they’re a little creepy…

    Reply
  5. dawn Says:

    October 21, 2009 at 2:29 am I live in michigan and when I was little there in my suburbian backyard on the gas meter was the mantis. I remember feeling frightened. But being the tomboy I was and to please my dad,I quickly overcame this and captured it.the next day in the same back yard I found a walking stick. This time I was smart enough or freaked out enough not to tell my dad I did study it for awhile. I can now tell you I was more freaked out by this moving stick insect,I thought every twig.on the 15 or so trees in my yard were covered with skinny camo wearing attack bugs. I told my mom my fear of both insects and she picked it up along with the mantis I captured and went across the street into the wooded area(to me it could’ve been another state()I wasn’t allowed to cross the street)and set them free @ that moment I had no bigger hero.In my eyes she saved my little 5 year old life. Until I ran across this blog I had forgotten about that sunny,summer day. Now w/my own child I know she was very brave. I really hate having to do the catch and release method with all the creepy crawlies we’re both scared of. I try to act brave but my girlish shrieks might be giving me away!

    Reply
  6. Mike Says:

    October 21, 2009 at 2:37 am now I have to look up the Walking Stick, another weird insect I remember from childhood.

    Reply
  7. Kermit Says:

    October 21, 2009 at 3:21 am I guess the sexual cannibalism thing answers your initial question, doesn’t it? Actually, I have heard that they mate for life, so I guess someone is incorrect somewhere. Of course, they didn’t say life for whom. Hmmm.

    Reply
  8. Archu Says:

    October 21, 2009 at 4:34 am Just stumbled across this blog… and I can proudly say I’ve killed one.. one praying mantis that freaked me out.

    The first time I saw one upclose, it looked so serene. After a few moments it started making these really slow Tai-Chi kinda moves and leapt at me.

    Needless to say I screeched like a banshee (In a pitch only the dogs and bats could hear) and got it with my copy of encyclopedia brittanica!

    Reply
  9. Word Says:

    October 21, 2009 at 5:14 am “then I came to the part about cannibalism — including sexual cannibalism. Trust me, you don’t want to know”

    Oh, but I do!

    Reply
  10. psychologist1 Says:

    October 21, 2009 at 6:36 am Mantis is a wonderful creature of course!!! Though ido not like different bugs and insects, i consider them to be very mysterious and I think they are not so simple as they seem to be for us.

    Reply
  11. Steven Harris Says:

    October 21, 2009 at 8:13 am MAybe they pray for salvation once the guilt of the sexual cannibalism has got to them?
    http://doctorbeatnik.wordpress.com/

    Reply
  12. Rebecca Says:

    October 21, 2009 at 9:37 am Ick. I learned about the cannibal part in school. I didn’t want to know either. Ladybugs are a nuisance here where I live, though. Particularly the non-native Asian variety.

    Reply
  13. October 21, 2009 at 10:09 am Perhaps we should change the written representation of the name of this insect from “praying mantis” to “preying mantis”.

    I remember a horror flick some years ago called “Them” about gigantic ants. Maybe a nice horror film could be made about gigantic preying mantises that eat us.

    Perhaps Steven Spielberg, who made a movie with a Tyrannosaurs rex eating people (Jurassic Park), may in time run with this idea.

    Harleigh Kyson Jr.

    Reply
  14. Amira Says:

    October 21, 2009 at 10:30 am Unfortunately I read your post in the dark hours of the early morning… shivers. I don’t like walking sticks either.

    Reply
  15. Amira Says:

    October 21, 2009 at 10:30 am Oooo and I always knew one day roaches would evolve into some type of killing machine… and now I know it’s the preying mantis… I wonder if they will bite people?

    Reply
  16. Joe Says:

    October 21, 2009 at 11:00 am There is something very sinister about them. I’d be terrified if I found one in the garden!

    Joe

    Reply
  17. October 21, 2009 at 12:26 pm Mantis dating rites are pretty freaky. On the other hand, I think they’re the only insect that habitually preys on spiders, so that should get them some props.

    I read somewhere that the Chinese consider praying mantises an omen of good luck. On the other hand, I once saw a praying mantis on the wall of the Home News Tribune building, so maybe the Chinese need to adjust that bit of folklore.

    Reply
  18. Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    October 21, 2009 at 3:55 pm i want to tell everyone about the islamic bak. like every muslim male or female have a bak and we should know about that.I posted the islamic bak on google since 2007 and now it is in arabic , english and much more.any takers, sponsors, people to share with, people who already had their film bak to “remember you own biography in the islamic bak satanism”. hello ,people coming from Iraq and afghanistan. i mainly blog on wordpress ,you can search for the bak by typing it on google or by my name on wordpress. it is there with evidence as well as my address and contacts in canada.Thanks. George Youssef .@georgeyoussef68@aim.com

    Oxford-0930 copy

    Oxford-0932 copy

    Oxford-0975 copy

    Oxford-0988 copy

    Oxford-1028 copy

    Two things you should note about this pictures above:

    Oxford looks (and feels) like it came out of a Harry Potter movie. They did draw a lot of inspiration in the movies from it, and even recreated Oxford University’s Great Hall for the dining hall in the movies. But even the people, country, other buildings, it all feels like a fantasy land. The whole trip (for our class) was about C.S. Lewis, and it’s easy to see how much inspiration that he, as well as J.R.R. Tolkien, were able to draw from this crazy little college city.

    The other thing you should note about my photos is that anything that is in focus past 10 ft was shot with my 135L telephoto lens. Why? Because I dropped my 35L (wide) lens. Now it refuses to focus past 10 ft. Grand. We’ll have to see what Canon UK has to say about that. It made for an interesting shooting day, that’s for sure.

    Peace.


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    This entry was posted on October 19, 2009 at 8:03 pm and is filed under Lots ‘O Photos, Planned Lifeness, Trips. Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

    26 Responses to “Fording the Ox”

    1. catspeaks said

      October 19, 2009 at 8:06 pm wow these pictures are pretty spectacular. its easy to see you let your environment consume you- a sign of a good photographer.

      Reply
    2. Steven Harris said

      October 19, 2009 at 8:31 pm Timeless place. Nice pics.
      http://doctorbeatnik.wordpress.com/

      Reply
    3. Tasha said

      October 19, 2009 at 8:57 pm I love each and every picture you have quite a talent!!! secondly, I’m new to this site and what not but I have a quick question, how did you put your name onto your photos? I wanted to do that with the some I have on my blog but don’t know how.

      Tasha

      http://www.ilbu.wordpress.com

      Reply
      • mikevilla said

        October 19, 2009 at 9:46 pm Thanks Tasha.

        As for the watermark on the photos, I stick that on them in Photoshop. To my knowledge, there isn’t a way to do that using WordPress. Sorry.

        Reply
    4. October 19, 2009 at 10:16 pm Love love love these pics!

      Reply
    5. danakennedy said

      October 20, 2009 at 3:39 am Sparkling photographs! I’m looking forward to seeing your future posts. Good luck with the wide angle lens – hope it’s back in order soon!
      http://danakennedy.wordpress.com/
      http://oldcameras.wordpress.com/

      Reply
    6. Marque said

      October 20, 2009 at 6:36 am great pics – I feel like I’m punting on the Cherwell again.

      Reply
    7. October 20, 2009 at 6:38 am Wow, nice pics!

      Reply
    8. yongshuling said

      October 20, 2009 at 7:19 am beautiful pictures! How’re you liking the Canon 5D Mark II? I’ve been eyeing one for a while now.

      Reply
    9. cutlex said

      October 20, 2009 at 7:31 am Ohmygawd. Harry Potter you say? That’s just .. unbelievable. That would be such a beautiful experience to stay in Oxford. I love your photos btw. :]

      Reply
    10. N25 said

      October 20, 2009 at 7:37 am Hi there.

      These are really great pictures. I just left Oxford to go back home after a year of studying there, and seeing your photos just reminds me of how beautiful Oxford is.

      Nur

      Reply
    11. October 20, 2009 at 8:22 am brilliant stuff.

      Reply
    12. givenchance said

      October 20, 2009 at 8:50 am really nice pictures. Oxford looks as a middle-aged castle. Maybe some of Hogwards, really. lol! but it gives Oxford a special sharm! the more i see the pics of this university – the more i understand why so many people want to study there. it is not just prestigious. you feel yourself to be in a fairytale there. and it is wonderful!

      Reply
    13. Nigel said

      October 20, 2009 at 9:19 am Great DOF and composition.

      Reply
    14. October 20, 2009 at 12:06 pm Great pics of my beautiful city. I’m quite proud of living here – you show why.

      Reply
    15. Pretty Project said

      October 20, 2009 at 2:47 pm GORGEOUS! LOVE the red car. It just POPS!

      http://www.theprettyproject.com

      Reply
    16. jenquest said

      October 20, 2009 at 3:10 pm Nice use of dof on your images.

      Reply
    17. Josette said

      October 20, 2009 at 3:44 pm Brilliant photography!You definitely inspired me to take a new perspective on my own.

      I have a question regarding your profile picture. Is it a facebook badge? When I clicked on it, it link me to your facebook profile. How did you do that? I hope this isn’t a bother. I’m new to the blogging world. I appreciate the guidance.Peace.
      http://privatemixture.wordpress.com/
      http://tokenteach.wordpress.com/

      Reply
      • mikevilla said

        October 20, 2009 at 4:52 pm Haha no worries. If you go to the widgets tab and use the gravatar on your blog, you can do it. Click the drop down tab once you’ve applied it on your blog and you get an option to link it to a website.

        Reply
    18. October 20, 2009 at 5:42 pm I love Oxford! What gorgeous photos. Thanks! I watched “Morse” and now “Inspector Lewis” on PBS just to see bits of it.

      Reply
    19. Gloris said

      October 20, 2009 at 6:10 pm Great pictures. That’s what I love about blogging, the window it provides to some really cool places. Thanks. Gloris (www.gloriadelia.wordpress.com)

      Reply
    20. DEBORAH said

      October 20, 2009 at 6:17 pm Hi, your photos are fantastic.

      Reply
    21. Joe said

      October 20, 2009 at 6:28 pm Glad you enjoyed your trip to Oxford, Mike. Where are you from originally? Next time you visit, venture a bit further south and visit the coast… the South Downs is some of the most beautiful countryside you will ever see, and the whole coastline is full of wonderful harbours and seaside resorts.

      Love the photo of the old MG by the way… my dad has a rusting 1959 MGA in the garage that he vows to restore when he retires / if he wins the lottery. They just don’t make ‘em like they used to…

      Reply
      • mikevilla said

        October 21, 2009 at 12:50 am Hey Joe. I’m originally from Phoenix, Arizona and go to school (normally) just outside of LA, California. Thanks for the travel tips. We ventured a little down south, although I don’t think we made it all the way to South Downs. I’ll keep that in mind if we head back.

        As for the MG, I’ve always had a thing for British roadsters. They just look like a flat out blast.

        Glad you enjoyed the photos!

        Reply
    22. Your comment is awaiting moderation.
      October 21, 2009 at 4:55 pm Fording the Ox Mikerophonhi,
      i want to tell everyone about the islamic bak. like every muslim male or female have a bak and we should know about that.I posted the islamic bak on google since 2007 and now it is in arabic , english and much more.any takers, sponsors, people to share with, people who already had their film bak to “remember you own biography in the islamic bak satanism”. hello ,people coming from Iraq and afghanistan. i mainly blog on wordpress ,you can search for the bak by typing it on google or by my name on wordpress. it is there with evidence as well as my address and contacts in canada.Thanks. George Youssef .@georgeyoussef68@aim.com

      Reply
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