Just had to post this.
I came in this evening from being outside shirtless, horrifying the neighbors, and felt something walking on my chest. Looked down and found a little winged aphid – just the perfect size, to my way of thinking. Grasping it by the wings and scampering outside, I carefully placed it on the azalea bush in front of one of the newborn mantises. This was touchy – they’re still very shy, but I was rewarded by seeing the mantis’ head snap around and fixate on the location of the aphid; I quickly dashed inside and got the camera. Once back outside, I played god (loki, perhaps – I’ve always liked loki) and nudged the aphid around from its hiding place on the back side of the leaf, and that was all it took.
Yes, there’s a part of me that feels I shouldn’t interfere, but then again, I’m interfering just by looming close for the images, and I’m getting some benefit from this, so why shouldn’t my photo subjects? This is the primary attrition time for insects – they’re at their most vulnerable at this size, and most of them will die within the next few weeks. Plus, I just mowed the lawn, and who knows how many critters I wiped out? I can go on justifying this if necessary…
Besides, you don’t walk on me without my permission – let this serve as warning.