19 Nov Moments with a Praying Mantis
Praying mantis is a ruthless and powerful predator of the natural world. It has the aptitude, the attitude and all the implements needed to be very successful at that. For a highly driven Praying mantis, no prey is out of bounds. It is quite capable of bringing down prey much bigger in size than itself. Mantises have been known to hunt reptiles like lizards, geckos and also some small birds. I have so much admiration for this creature. I am always excited when I come across one and this encounter was no different.
One noon, as I was taking a breather out in my balcony, I noticed some movement on a flowering plant. A big, green thing was moving along on the leaves. Upon close inspection, realised that it was a praying mantis, a good sized one.
Mantises have been very regularly seen in my little garden before. Here are few of the images I have made there.
Off late though, they have become quite a rarity. So, seeing one got me excited. I took out my phone and decided to make some images and if possible some videos too.
Very powerful vision gives the mantis an innate ability to be able to assess distances very well. So, leaping from plant to plant as it moves along is such a breeze for this creature. Here’s one of its leaps. You can notice how it assesses, positions itself, moves back and forth to generate the momentum needed and then makes the jump.
Just amazing isn’t it!
This individual did seem to be in quite an aggressive mood. As I went close to it, it started aggressive posturing, started moving towards me, targeting my phone’s camera perhaps. The attitude of a powerful predator was showing through very clearly. It just didn’t care. It had made up its mind to take down my phone :-)
You can see here when the mantis starts reaching out trying to get a grasp on my phone, the same way as it would bring down any potential prey with its powerful, sawtoothed forelegs.
Look at the confidence and the attitude! Mantises, along with Jumping spiders are truly the equivalent of big cats in the world of arthropods.
As I got closer to it, the mantis positioned itself behind a leaf. Every now and then, with the curiosity getting the better of it, the mantis popped its head out to see as to what was going on. A little game of peekaboo :-)
The serious intent mixed with curiosity was clearly evident in the mantis’s eyes.
In the arthropod world, mantises and jumping spiders are the creatures that leave me stupefied with their ability to stare right into one’s eyes as if saying, am ready to take you on buddy!
After a couple of aggressive attempts, the mantis started moving away from me, finally concluding I guess, that me or my phone were neither prey nor a threat. As it went on its way, I was very happy to have spent a few good moments with it. It had indeed been quite a while.
As a side note, if you are keen on getting to know more about the Praying Mantises, I have made a detailed video looking into these amazing creatures. You can check it out on my Youtube channel here – Natural World – Praying Mantis.