More mantises!

This is not a bug!  It’s the skin of a bug! 

As they grow, mantises shed their skin every couple of weeks!  It’s true!  And the skin left over is a cool artifact all by itself!  It’s always surprisingly whole for some reason.  We keep our dead mantis-skins in a special little container so we can look back at their growth progress and sigh and reminisce about what they were like when they were babies.  It’s just like marking your child’s growth spurts in their bedroom doorjamb.  They — they grow so fast — (sniff) —

Meanwhile, here’s the little guy who just shed his skin!  He’s feeling frisky and full of beans!  Or cricket, anyway.  Look how interested he is!  He’s ready to greet the world!  I’m going to call him Bucky.  Hey Bucky, you ready to greet the world?  Bucky, world; world, Bucky!

Uh-oh!  Bucky hears a noise!  Is it a burglar?  Is it terrorists?  No, it’s just the paper boy, Bucky!  Calm down, boy!  Bucky feels very protective toward me, I can tell.  My hand is his territory and he’s going to defend it from anything that comes his way (provided it’s an insect smaller than himself).  I’m going to call him Guard Mantis Bucky!

Bucky’s decided the coast is clear.  Look, he’s giving me the “thumbs up” sign!  He thinks he’s people!  How could you not fall in love with that face?  Bucky’s going to be a movie star!  You’re okay in my book, Bucky!

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11 Responses to “More mantises!”
  1. planettom says:

    At various times I’ve heard that killing a praying mantis was illegal, and there was a hefty fine involved.

    I never gave it that much thought… I wasn’t on a vengeance kick against praying mantises anyway. But at various times, when I was a kid, and when I was adult, a praying mantis would alight on a car in a parking lot, or something, and somebody would sagely say, “You know, it’s illegal to kill a praying mantis.”

    I assumed there was some sort of Federal Fish and Wildlife division running around arresting those who would do harm to a praying mantis.

    I just now realized that’s a bunch of hooey (Snopes, and another reference).

    (Presumably the female praying mantis was still allowed to bite off the head of the male after mating. Although it turns out that’s somewhat of a myth too).

    Something I’ve found weird is, I’ve noticed on several occasions that people seem to confuse walking stick insects with mantises.

    • Todd says:

      When I was a kid we used to go out and catch walking sticks and keep them in a cage during the summer. They were the coolest things ever.

      • planettom says:

        Walking stick insects are the coolest things ever. A couple of years ago I was hiking with my niece and nephew in the North Georgia mountains, and I saw a more-sticklike walking stick insect than I’d ever seen.

        It was one of those things that seemed to give points to both evolution and the idea that there had to be a designer behind all this.

        Kind of like carnivorous plants. “Hey, I think this mutation, I’ll try eatin’ bugs!”

  2. medox says:

    I’m trying to figure out which is creepier: a bag of live mantises, or a jar of dead mantis skins.

    They are pretty damn cool, though.

  3. teamwak says:

    Interesting and informative.

    Good boy, Bucky.

  4. edo_fanatic says:

    Idk why, but this is fascinating- I see giant mantis guards at the alcott house.

  5. urbaniak says:

    You should write a movie about insects.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Bucky the Wonder Bug!
    There’s a comic in there somewhere, right?