July 29, 2015
(This is part of a 365 project during my 70th year where I write and illustrate a blog on each day’s gift.)
As I started to leave my house today, I noticed something green on my black wrought iron railing—a praying mantis was swaying back and forth in a strange dance. I have read that this swaying could be related to crypsis, an attempt to mimic wind-blown foliage. It is also possible that the repetitive movement helps the mantis to discriminate objects from the background.
Excited about possibly getting some good photos, I turned around to run back into the house and grab my Nikon with a macro lens. Returning outside, I looked through the viewfinder as I neared the insect only to discover gray fog. Condensation! From cool inside to hot, humid outside created an impossible shooting situation as I was trying to capture nature. As soon as I wiped the condensation off the lens and positioned the camera, it had fogged up once again.
I watched as the mantis jumped from the railing to the concrete and studied some ants that were running around nearby. I actually saw one ant race unexpectedly across the body of its enemy. However, a few seconds after that, with lightning speed (30-50 thousandths of a second), the mantis grabbed another ant, held it tight in its raptorial legs, and began munching on it. All the time during this great drama, I could not keep my lens unfogged long enough to take good quality photos.
Regardless of a foggy lens, I felt lucky to have witnessed this reality show three feet from my front door.
My gift today is praying mantis drama.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~You can find links to my other posts on this project here: