Thursday, September 24, 2015

An Unexpected Visit from a Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis on My Wall, ©B. Radisavljevic
Until I started gardening in Paso Robles, I had never seen a live praying mantis. Then, a few years ago, I found one in my yard. The one you see in this photo decided to visit me inside my house. I have no idea why. I was sitting in the family room a few nights ago and saw this one flying above me. It landed on a wall high above my head. In flight I thought it was a dragonfly. Only when I focused my zoom lens on it did I see that it was actually a mantis. Later, it moved to different wall lower down, and with some effort to get behind some furniture that was blocking decent access, I was able to get this shot. Since it was night, I had to  use a flash, but there was also a lamp to the left throwing off its own light.

Praying Mantis on Mullein at the End of October, ©B. Radisavljevic

I discovered my first praying mantis in my garden one year late in October. I was trying to get photos of a mullein in bloom, and didn't even notice this mantis until I was poised to take a macro shot of a flower. Do you see how well the colors of the mantis blend into the colors of the plant?

But I hadn't seen the whole show yet. As I continued to stalk the plant with my camera, I caught a mantis pair mating, and I could not resist taking the photo below and adding a bit to it.

Praying Mantis Pair Mating on Mullein at the End of October, ©B. Radisavljevic

Although the mantis is smooth in flight, it seems a bit awkward as it moves from one part of a plant to another. In the video below, I captured it moving from the flower spike it was on to the one a couple of inches away from it. As you can see, it is having a bit of a struggle making this short journey.

Other products with the design below are also available from Zazzle. You can change or remove the text if you wish. Most of the products are blank. I used to think the plant was clary sage because that's what the person who sold it to me told me. It was months before the plant bloomed and I accidentally discovered my mistake when I saw a photo of mullein online and in an herb book. The leaves are similar, but the flowers are very different. Some product titles still have not been corrected on Zazzle, but I'm  working on it.
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