Mom would have been so proud

A couple of months ago tiny Chinese mantids overran my house, having hatched unexpectedly from an ootheca that was supposed to stay dormant until spring. Last night the first female of the batch successfully molted into adulthood (the first male had his imaginal molt three days earlier), thus completing the cycle that started when I…

African Tuesday: Being bark

When I first read “Out of Africa”, which to this day remains one of my favorite books, the one thing that left me oddly dissatisfied was the lack of attention to trees of the savanna¬†– their smell and colors, the texture of their bark and, most importantly, all the wonderful creatures that the author must…

They grow so fast

The Chinese mantis hatchlings, which quite unexpectedly overran my house a few weeks ago, are growing like crazy. If all goes well, this cohort should be laying eggs by spring, and thus I should be able to return them to my garden (although they are an introduced species, Chinese mantids are already well established in…

More babies

Earlier today Kristin was reading on the couch, when she noticed a small insect crawling up the wall. “It is either a very small mantis or an assassin bug”, she opined, exhibiting some pretty good entomological expertise. I was not expecting to see either but, sure enough, it was a small praying mantis. Then we…

An auditory cyclops

Although these days most of our life is spent in front of devices that cram the world into a convenient, two-dimensional space, the moment when we peel our eyes off the screen brings the realization that we still live in a universe that has a pesky third dimension. Sights, sounds, and smells come to us…

Nine months and counting

About nine months ago I began to document the growth and development of a baby, and a few days ago this beautiful being completed a journey from her virgin conception to adulthood. She is a praying mantis (Taumantis sp.) She emerged on February 1st, along with about 150 of her sisters. She never had a…