Only kind of useful

Two discoveries last night led me to shoot some comparison images, which allows you to see the size variations between these species, but not the actual size of them. It’s not easy to get something to show size in the frame with most of my subjects, even when I carry little paper measuring scales with me (how many people can say they have one of those in their wallets regularly? How many people don’t find this a bragging point? Weird.) Most of my subjects would either be disturbed by my attempts to slip something like that alongside them, or would move on immediately after I got it propped into place. Plus it destroys the aesthetic.

Regardless, here are the images, notable in that they were all shot at the same magnification and are shown here full frame, so each of these is exactly this size in comparison to the others.

very young Carolina anole Anolis carolinensis snoozing on Japanese maple
This is likely the same baby Carolina anole (Anolis carolinesis) found a few days back, given that it’s less than two meters away from that spot. Though I’d be thrilled to know there’s more than one this age (how many people – oh, never mind…)

juvenile Chinese mantis Tenodera sinensis on blackberry lily Iris domestica
This is a juvenile Chinese mantis (Tenodera sinensis,) roughly half adult size, flushed out as I misted the area. I missed a great video opportunity, because for all the times that I’ve seen mantids excited about getting misted, this one was the most exuberant, climbing the leaves excitedly and waving its forelegs in the air like it was conjuring – it would be easy to mistake this for an aggressive display, except that I know how they feel about water when it’s this damn hot out.

juvenile Carolina mantis Stagmomantis carolina on clethra buds
And this is a juvenile Carolina mantis (Stagmomantis carolina) on the buds of the clethra bush. Carolina mantises are roughly half the size of Chinese mantises and hatch much later in the season, so this one is quite young, probably a few weeks old. I’d seen it on the clethra bush earlier but the misting didn’t flush it out like the Chinese mantis; nonetheless, I found it with a short search while shooting the comparison images.

To keep these together, they were all shot at the maximum magnification of the Mamiya 80mm macro, though without the extension tube, so at a working distance of 16cm or so from the end of the lens hood. The last mantis is probably about 10mm in length, and the head of the anole is smaller than your little fingernail. Thankfully, they’re well separated because, at these sizes, there could be a food chain thing going on (though not in this order.) I was also pleased to find three Chinese mantids in the area with a short search, after how scarce they’ve been this season. Time to start stalking them for video.

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