I’m a dude

I had to wash off some things outside a short while ago, and while draining the hose, I set the sprayer for ‘mist’ and applied a liberal coating to grasses where I knew some of the praying mantises lived; I was rewarded with seeing one of them scamper up and begin drinking deeply from the water droplets adhering to the leaves. Of course, I trotted (it might have been a canter, come to think of it) inside myself and grabbed the camera. The recipient of my largesse, however, did not acquiesce to displaying this as I loomed nearby with the softbox rig.

There are at least three mantids that have moved to the dog fennel plants, however – this does not seem to have been the most advantageous action as they remain smaller than their brethren; either that, or there was another hatching that I remained unaware of. But since the one on the grasses appreciated the moisture, I brought out the misting bottle and heavily doused the areas on the dog fennel where the other mantids were out foraging. They appreciated this as much as the first, and eagerly sucked up what adhered to the leaves before the sun (which is quite bright and hot today) evaporated this windfall. Perhaps ‘windfall’ is not the right word here…

juvenile Chinese mantis gathering water
Seen here, one that had borne the full effect of the misting draws up water from its forelegs, having swept its eyes clear. If you don’t have a little misting bottle to carry in the camera bag, get one. Mine is from a purse-sized Jheri Curl, after I used the product up keeping my ‘fro dashing. (The true story is, I went to the drugstore specifically to find a misting bottle for photographic purposes, but everything they had was too big for the camera bag – until I spotted a clearance bin on the way out with items for a buck; that was fifteen years ago, and I still use that mister.)

Lest you think the mantis might not have appreciated this soaking, I wish to point out that not only do they suffer much worse than this during downpours and even fog, any of them could have easily dodged deeper into the dog fennel had they felt the urge – they certainly do it often enough as I lean in for a nice portrait. They get most of their fluids from overnight dew, and it did hit the dewpoint last night, but they still took advantage of the misting I provided, so, cool!

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