Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Monster in the kitchen



Tonight I encountered a monster in my kitchen.

She flew into the sink and clung to the side of an empty jar of pasta sauce that was soaking clean. She fluttered down and her wings became drabbled in the water.


I fished her out with my fingers and startled at her raspy, thorny carapace, I dropped her on the floor. She raced past [The Man I Love]'s feet.


Finally I scooped her up with a paper towel and laid her on the dining table. She clambered up into the flower arrangement there.


She's a little monster. A California praying mantis, or Stagomantis californica.

"I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille."
Her compound eyes sit wide apart in her arrow-shaped head, which can swivel around 180 degrees, all the better to seek out prey in the form of other bugs - and other manti.


The praying mantis can truly be characterized as "The Worst Girlfriend in the World," because she's just not a nice girl. She doesn't play well with others.

Shh! Don't speak!
A solitary animal, really, except when they mate, but even then, she's not much for conversation. Sometimes during the mating ritual, the female mantis eats the male's head while he's in the middle of the act.  It doesn't matter to her - she wasn't paying much attention to anything he had to say.


She could use a manicure.

10 comments:

Une Femme said...

Ok, the "sshh, don't speak!" cracked me up.

smalltownme said...

She's beautiful, though.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

If you try to hold onto a big one, he/she/it/mantis will starting eating your hand.

I learned this when I was little...
~

Aunt Snow said...

Thunder, I picked this one up and immediately felt my hand being - er - scratched. Whether it was biting me or whether it was its prickly thorns and spikes, I don't know. All I know is I dropped it on the floor damn fast.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Sometimes during the mating ritual, the female mantis eats the male's head while he's in the middle of the act. It doesn't matter to her - she wasn't paying much attention to anything he had to say.
For some reason, I can't stop giggling over this one!

Beautiful pictures, Aunt Snow, and your captions are perfect.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

She's gorgeous- I found one behind the workplace once and put it on one of the picnic tables outside the building. I told a kooky co-worker of mine who loved bugs as much as I do that I had left her a present, but she had to get it quickly. She came in with it on her shoulder and found a jar to put it in. The gal who worked the next cubicle over, a very pretty but rather "prissy" girl, asked me why I had given Jen such a horrible creature and I replied, "Look at it without predjudice, you'll find that it's really a beautiful animal."

Sure enough, by the end of the day, she had come around to our way of thinking. Anyway, Jen named the bug "Blue" and took it home. Blue promptly laid a bunch of eggs and died, her work was done.

claudiagiulia said...

I am sooo impressed with your photos! One of those monsters was on my patio a couple of days ago, and it didn't even occur to me to snap away. Nicely done!

DaveyWaveyGoodAsGravy said...

Love the photos, Aunt Snow-in-Law! Just yesterday, I photographed one, too!

Claudia from Idiot's Kitchen said...

Don't speak. I'm still laughing over that one too. Nice photos. She could be a model for the phrase bug eyed.

Claudia from Idiot's Kitchen said...

Don't speak. I'm still laughing over that one too. Nice photos. She could be a model for the phrase bug eyed.