Today is a departure from the usual scenic photos, because I love praying mantids, and this photo by Hasan Baglar is gorgeous.
Have you ever read instructions on what to do if you’re hiking in the mountains and run into a cougar? They tell you to make yourself look like a threat — raise your arms and open your coat and look BIG.
That’s what these praying mantids are doing. They have perceived a threat (probably the photographer) and are doing a defense display. Wings opened, massive, clawed front legs lifted — they are big and threatening!
Of course, for a human, it’s a bit hard to take that seriously when they look like smiling dancers. And they’re maybe two inches long. But it makes for a heck of a photo.
Be sure to click the image for the embiggened version, which has truly amazing focus. Even the feet are in focus, and I was fascinated to see how they are flexible enough to wrap around the twig. This explains why removing a praying mantis from any surface is so danged hard: they are seriously attached.
Caveat for those who have never been around these magnificent insects: do you see the spines on the insides of those front legs? They’re sharp, and the front legs are extremely strong, and praying mantids will defend themselves if they have to. So it’s always better to leave them be and admire from afar.