A Blog By Jessica Lynne Gardner

A Blog by Jessica Lynne Gardner: It's terrifying and, at times, adorable.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Mantis Hitch-hiker

Today was a long day, but not unpleasant. When I shuffled to my car after work, I hopped in and proceeded to drive out of the parking lot when something caught my eye. I saw a long wing ruffling in the forty-mile-an-hour wind (now you all know that I speed in parking lots) and the long legs of an insect perched upon my windshield. For some reason my brain screamed "locust!" and I recoiled. But upon seeing it turn it's robotic head  and bulbous, wise eyes, I recognized it as a rather large praying mantis. It stared at me and I stared back, shoving my phone in its stunned face so I could remember this strange phenomenon (and post the pics here of course).

(Looks creepy, huh?)

It's funny how they resemble something alien to us: the giant eyes, antenna, jack-knife legs and streamline body, but they are so much more natural than we are. Their survival is the hunt and also knowing when to hide from birds, cats and humans. 'Fight or Flight' is more than a theory or reaction to them it's an art form. I had slowed my car down as much as my lead-foot would allow and drove around the corner. Her (I say her because I'm pretty sure the females are larger) shape disappeared from my windshield and I was worried she'd fallen off. I stopped at a store along the way and Mrs. M was still hanging out with a death-grip on the top of my car. I spoke to it (I know...) and it seemed to be listening. My phone caught another picture and her saucer eyes followed me as I walked away.

(It was actually pretty adorable in person)

Somewhere along the drive from there to my house she had took off but I found myself thinking about the relationship between wild animals and humans. Creatures that once coexisted now rarely interact with us and we want nothing to do with them. Everyone may know what a preying mantis is but how often do you see them, watch their behavior or talk to them? How about deer, foxes, bats? It just put into perspective how far away we've gotten from understanding what is right in front of us. Our first response when we see a wild creature is 'can it hurt me?' or 'will it get into my food/hair/house?' We forget that these creatures (most of them anyways) have a good reason to be around. Bats eat mosquitoes, foxes help keep populations of small rodents and other animals down and mantis eat spiders, crickets, beetles and other annoying bugs.

And though that mantis may not have realized what it was doing by hitching a ride on my car, it made a valid point. Who knows, maybe they miss the human/nature interaction too. :) 


Anonymous said...

:D i saw one yesterday. this was good.

Michelle said...

That first pic looks like 'Attack of the Giant Mantis'...almost as if a huge mantis is standing in the parking lot next to the stop sign.