30 July 2006

Mantis makes its move

While weeding the flower garden around noon today, I saw a Cabbage White nectaring on salvia flowers. Then, I noticed something jumping from a nearby plant to the salvia. It turned out to be a praying mantis. The Cabbage White left, but the mantis positioned itself on one of the stalks below the blooming flowers. It was a perfect spot to grab a butterfly that would land on the flowers above.

If this wasn't intelligent, preplanned action, what is? And insects aren't supposed to be able to think.

mantis1

The mantis waited. I waited. About 10 minutes later, the butterfly returned and landed on the flower stalk next to the mantis's. And the mantis struck.

mantis2

A shutter speed of 1/400 s wasn't fast enough to freeze the action. The butterfly struggled briefly.

mantis3

But it was too late. A few minutes later, a couple of white wings fell to ground below.

mantis4

2 comments:

Pamela Martin said...

Fantastic sequence! It is amazing that the tiny predators process so much information and form complex responses in those little bodies. If that's not thinking...

clare said...

Incredible. I admire you patience - and definitely worth the wait. I've never seen a picture of a praying mantis before. So thank you - I've learnt something tonight.