Perhaps the most beautiful and friendly mantis I’ve had the privilege of meeting to date was this one. She (just a guess, but my gut feel) made me view these amazing creatures differently, question my previous notions about them, and left me completely in awe of them. She was magical.
Mr. fMf encountered her while mowing with the tractor. She jumped out of the way of the tractor’s underbelly mowing deck, using her wings for loft. She was exactly the color of the grass: rich green, and so incredibly well-camouflaged, she was nearly impossible to pick out. Knowing how bugs delight me (and to remove her from the path of the mower), he brought her back to the house to show me.
And I was delighted. She was such a character, reaching toward my phone (and maybe me?) with her long front legs, flailing at the air. She seemed to want to climb onto my phone, but I was hesitant: what if she bit me? It was silliness – she climbed all over Mr. fMf with nary a bite. I felt rather foolish that I worried about her inflicting a wound on me when all she really seemed was curious.
After I snapped a few photos, we placed her atop a lemon balm bush, where she dangled by her back legs, reminding me of being a kid and preparing to do a “penny drop”. As I got closer to take more photos, she swiveled her head and those great eyes looked at me. I looked back, transfixed. She saw me. I saw an intelligent, funny, curious creature looking at me. It was as if something had shifted: she was no longer just a cool insect, she was so obviously another intelligent being on this planet.
Though I wanted to just keep watching her, out of respect, I left her to her dangling. She was there, in the bush, for several hours…then she disappeared. My hope is that she’s out there in the pastures or on a bush, somewhere, and that she’s well. I will think of her often.