My second post focuses only on the male of the Devil’s Flower Mantis, or Idolomantis diabolica. This is the closest biological representation I have ever seen of surreal, campy evil. Again the male is seen in threat display. The male has special antennae (that look like vertebrae), used to detect females using scent. The male is brightly colored (assumedly for threat display), and the female is only beige. Next post will be about the female Idolomantis diabolica.
I’m starting a three-part series on mantids, an order of insects that exist in many textures and colors worldwide. The mantid pictured above is a Prohierodula picta, or blue-winged mantis male. Some mantids have vibrantly colored wings that they use for “threat display”, they flash the colored underside of their wings to shock predators, and often stick their arms up to appear larger.
This is the story of Felix. I was playing tennis in central Mexico when suddenly a snake fell out of a tree lining the court. I picked it up with my racquet and kept it as a pet for a couple of hours. He was small, harmless, and cat-like, so I named him Felix. I’m not completely sure of the species, but I suspect it’s a worm snake (Carphophis Amoenus helenae) and it had no business up in that tree.
What puzzles me is :
1. What is a midwestern worm snake doing in central Mexico.
2. Since when can a worm snake (who usually burrows and eats eathrworms) so easily climb a tree and navigate branches and twigs).
3. The belly of a worm snake is not mottled.
Rest assured there are plenty of earthworms for the worm snake to enjoy, and the soil is soft enough for the snake to burrow. But I’m not convinced that it is a worm snake.
I took this picture in the mangrove in Yucatan. It’s an unidentified medium-sized mangrove crab who climbed into my dinghy and was very frightened. Mangrove crabs are considered keystone species for many reasons: they are very important in stabilizing the ecosystem. On the same trip I also saw a tiny violin crab in the mangrove, jaibas in the shallow tidewaters, and a lot of big scary horseshoe crab carcasses on the beach.
I took this picture over the summer in central Mexico. I’ve been trying to identify the lizard using a bunch of different field guides but I can’t seem to find the species. The lizard is very frightened and almost immobile. It has small limbs and a golden-orange belly. It also has really nice eyes. I tried to lift it with a leaf but it slid into a hole in the ground.
Stonefish, members of the genus Synanceia, are the most poisonous fish on Earth, and can change from their normal color to stone-grey. Divers have often mistaken then for stones, stepping on them and being fatally poisoned.