Documenting nature in the Amazon through photographs and sketches

Mantid!

While I was out in the garden trying to get some practice photographing insects, I saw a few carpenter bees getting nectar. I took a few shoots but with all the buzzing and flying around it was complicated.

Garden, Jardim Paulista, Manaus

My husband comes to see what’s going on and decides he likes those flowers, and since we are working in the garden he decides he’s going to try putting some branches into the soil and hope it will grow into some nice flowery bushes. While he was at that, he found a nice little mantid! so I forget about the bumblebees and run over to take a look and practice with the mantid. I really like mantids!!! (bumblebees too but it’s harder to photograph them as they fly so much). so for my purpose of practicing insect photography, finding the mantid gave me a great opportunity. Here is my favourite photo of the session:

Mantids can be hard to find out in the field, they can camouflage themselves with their surroundings, some can look like live leaves, dead leaves, twigs, flowers, grass or even ants! But two characteristics can give them away. Their head, triangular shaped, with two large compound eyes, that can rotate up to 180 degrees, so they can follow you (or their prey) around without making much of a move, just looking over their shoulder. They also have three simple eyes in the centre of the head, between the big compound eyes. The other characteristic that makes mantids quite unique is their front pair of legs. They are modified for grabbing and holding on to prey and have strong spikes to keep hold. They use these legs to catch their prey and hold it while they eat their live prey. Mantids are commonly found on plants where other insects come to feed, like these flowers where ants and flies were running and flying around. And here are other photos I liked:

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2 responses

  1. Great shots Alida! Are you sure that the first one is a bumblebee and not a Xylocopid? I’m not super familiar with tropical bumblebees but the only black ‘bumblebees’ I’ve seen were all xylocopids.
    Keep posting the great photos!
    C

    09/06/2011 at 12:44 pm

  2. mmm i don’t know about that, I guess I’m less familiar with big tropical bees than you haha! i’ll check on that, thanks for your comment!

    09/06/2011 at 3:18 pm

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