[Both] Canon 300D, handheld
[Top] Sigma 24-135 at 135mm
ISO 400
1/640 second at f10
[Bottom] Mamiya 80mm w/ two extensions
Metz 40MZ-3i flash
ISO 100
1/200 second at f11

subtle Chinese mantis Tenodera sinensis

Yeah, I like praying mantises. But even better, they like several areas that I have easy access to, so I'm able to get countless images of them, even when they think they're being subtle. I'm starting to develop a sense of their habits and have watched several grow up, and even though the identifying characteristics of individuals are unsurprisingly sparse, I can still sometimes spot certain residents and regulars.

The other nice thing about them is their patience – they can be nudged into new positions at times, and may hold still while I go in for the detail shots. Below, a resident shows off the color change that takes place in their eyes come nightfall, which I must suppose gives them so particular edge in night vision. One source of information told me that they do not hunt at night, and are only active then for sexual purposes, but I'm quite sure this is incorrect – not only have I found them eating quite late, but this has occurred in sexually immature specimens. Hopefully you find the reflected facets of the eyes as cool as I do, and may appreciate it even more when I tell you that my model here measured 8mm across the outside of the eyes, about the width of a standard pencil. And no, this is not a captive or restrained in any way. Had to go for the big example, didn't I?

Chinese mantis Tenodera sinensis closeup macro