May’s mirror

two juvenile Chinese mantises Tenodera sinensis on opposite sides of grass bladeIt’s gotten cold again and there isn’t a lot to photograph and truth be told I’m not even trying, so we’re going back to May with this one. I’ve had it sitting in the blog folder for all this time (yet it’s far from the oldest photo in there,) because I was doing too many mantises back then. Yeah, I’m finally admitting it, I had a wild and hedonistic youth, if by ‘youth’ you mean just over 1% earlier in my personal timeline, and by ‘hedonistic’ you mean… well, whatever you like, because it appears I don’t even know what it means normally, but probably not a lot to do with blogging about mantids. I’m fairly certain it originated with that, though. You know, back when the ancient Latins were inscribing mud tablets with illustrations of Mantodea and hanging them on the privy walls…

Worse, it’s not really a mirror image, since the mantises are different hues and the legs aren’t even in matching positions, and they’re not directly opposite one another either – but their antennae are pretty close, so we’ll go with that. Let’s consider it a mirror from an apprentice just starting out, with a lot of flaws in it.

It would be easy to believe this was a variation of the second photo found here, except that they were taken on two separate days and I doubt the mantids held still that long. It’s probably obvious that they’re tiny, and if you know anything about mantids you’d know that from the month that I photographed them in, but it’s safe to say these are under 12mm long. I didn’t have as much luck with them this year, as they seemed to disperse faster and I spotted none of reproductive age in the immediate area when September rolled around, but I recently found an egg case that I can’t be sure is this year’s or not – we’ll find out next spring. Plus I will likely purchase a couple more to try, once again, to capture the hatching as it occurs.

I will be featuring a few more older images in the coming weeks, so you have that to look forward to – I know I’m all excited and antagonistic…

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