Mantis, mantis


Well, before the mantis, first a scene or two.

This is from last weekend, when Elmar and I hiked Mission peak to Sunol, and back. We reached the crest before the clouds had burned off. Nice. I think my Achilles tendon problems have been resolved. 17 miles, 4000 vertical feet, or thereabouts.

Today, 9 October, I hiked Purisima redwoods. Again, a nice early morning, when the sun first started coming through.

Pretty country, and the variety is one of the things I like the most.

While I’m off the subject, I might mention that yesterday I came upon a turtle, maybe eight inches diagonal across the shell, on the bike path that parallels highway 237. I touched it with my bike tire, and it actually jumped! Only an inch or two, but that’s pretty impressive, considering the athletic abilities of turtles. It then ran away at full speed. I could tell because both front and both rear legs were synchronized, rather than operating independently, one at a time.

Back to today’s adventures. Mid-afternoon, and I noticed a spiderweb against the sunlight in the back yard. Went out for a look (no photos) and found a mantis. I had been thinking only this morning that I had seen no manti this year. In the dry grass, they turn straw-coloured, and are almost impossible to spot. No straw colour for this beauty!

As it climbed the doorframe, it came into an area full of old spider webs. Much to my surprise, it ate them. I had no idea they would eat spider silk; I suppose it’s biomass, and manti are as ravenous as any mythological monster.

You get a really good view of the spikes on the legs with which it holds and impales its prey.

But who knew… that it was a scavenger, as well as a live hunter!

What a pretty face!

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