Blue Eye Praying

Blue Eye Praying

PDF Week 14/2016: Canon 7D, 100mm, 1/250, f32, ISO 100, external flash.

So exciting to have a Praying mantis back in our basil garden. It is a different species to the resident individual from last year. They are highly welcome since we have lots of Grass hoppers and all sorts of other insects who enjoy and devour most of our garden plants.

This Praying Mantis was found close to a beautiful Assassin Bee Eater. Would they stalk each other? Both of them are exquisite hunters quite high in the food chain. Assassin Bee Eaters jump their prey and suck it out injecting a digestive venom that can hurt humans quite badly.

Suddenly, I noticed a large grasshopper in the equation. Despite having a perfect angle I put my camera away, trying to watch the spectacle without interfering. It was not going to be a love triangle for sure. But who would end up having or being a meal?

The Grasshopper jumped within 3cm (an inch) of the Praying Mantis. The mantis stared for an eternity and finally launched a half hearted attack on the Grasshopper. It missed. All the animals went their unharmed ways for now.

The Praying Mantis seemed to pose for me a bit later. For  a few seconds it even opened up and moved its front legs away from its body. To my surprise, a blue spot became visible on the inside of those spring loaded, sharp catching tools. Those blue 'eyes' must be the last thing, prey will look at before being killed and eaten.

The Praying Mantis looks like Orthodoera novaezealandiae but since the photo was taken in Brisbane, I assume it is relatively safe to say that the blue eyes identify it as Orthodoera ministralis.

Photographing animals that rely on camouflage and blend into their background is always quite tricky. When the animal opened its front legs, the yellow thighs and the blue spots simply took me by surprise. They complement the green background and getting the (real) eye contact is an added bonus.

Being aware that we already had a Praying Mantis in Photo Discussion Friday this year...I simply can hardly get enough of them. 


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