Sunday, March 1, 2015

Pictures of the Moment - Missouri Mantis

A praying mantis in the footsteps of Douglas MacArthur has no appreciation for history. Does that make him much different than most other tourists?

We saw this Carolina mantis (Stagomantis carolina) sunning on the teak deck of the Battleship U.S.S. Missouri Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Whereas, below-decks he'd be in Missouri, at Hawaii. Like much of the wildlife in Hawaii today, this accidental tourist is most likely the descendant of a stowaway. He won't get far on the Missouri.

It is curious so many people are attracted to mantids, even to the point of holding them gently. Shorten that thorax (the connection between the legs and the abdomen) and forelegs and you have his cousin the cockroach, maybe a scream, and an uncontrollable desire to squash. Our response is much like a lover of lobster turning up his nose at fried grasshoppers.

But voracious mantids eat a lot of insect pests. We can forgive them for not being discriminating and eating their beneficial cousins too.

His regal bearing does not reflect much brainpower. Moments after I snapped these shots he took to flight, flew directly into the ships superstructure, and fell to the deck stunned for a few moments. He was probably distracted by social media on my son's iPhone while commuting. What can you expect from someone willing to sacrifice his head for the sake of procreation. His choices reflect a lack of common sense shared with other sun-worshippers or patrons of tanning booths.

Images captured February 10, 2015.