352: Photo shoot

The glamour shot

With all the models posing in the meadows, I thought it time to do a real photo shoot.  Over the past couple of days I’ve spent a few hours outside with the Praying Wotsits.  (Thank you, Brian, for supplying me with a good name for these strange creatures.)

Full body glamour shot

The number of praying mantises in the meadows is astounding.  It’s possible they come out in droves like this every year, but prior to this commitment, I never knew.  I’d see the occasional Praying Wotsit by the house or on an ironweed plant when I bothered to venture forth during the latter days of summer when the weather was still hot and humid.

They are such strange, alien looking creatures.  I wonder if the depictions and descriptions of aliens in the sci-fi genre were influenced by the praying mantis.  It is the only insect that can rotate its alien-looking head almost completely around.  (Shades of The Exorcist…?)

Just hangin' around

They also look like little yogis (or yoginis) to me.  Their flexibility is amazing.

I finally spotted some of the solid green mantises.  They were probably there all the time, blending right in with the foliage.

Apparently the Praying Wotsit takes on the color that blends best with its surroundings.  A mantis living among green leaves when it moults will usually appear green whereas a mantis living among dried or brown leaves will appear brown.  Some will even take on a blend of colors.  They are very good at taking on the shape of the stem or leaf on which they are sitting.

If you look carefully in the above photo, you’ll see this Wotsit is enjoying a yellowjacket.  The wasps appear to be a favorite of the mantises in our meadows.

There.  A close-up.  Now you can see the wings of the wasp.  (As with all photos on my blog, click to see a slightly larger version.  Otherwise, you might miss the wings.)

What I find extremely fascinating is the way the mantises will follow both sight and sound.  Usually they will look up at me as I come near, then go back to whatever they are doing.  They respond when I ask them to look up at me by doing just that.  They look up at me.

Posing for the camera

I am learning something from the stillness and the silence of the praying mantis.  Patience, of course, as happens when focusing on anything in nature.  They are helping me find my own inner stillness.


There is a beauty in their strangeness.

And a strangeness in their beauty.

If I were a poet, I would write an ode to the Praying Wotsit.

You call me Praying Mantis, because I hold my front legs in the position of prayer.  You should call me Preying Mantis, because when I am focused on having something, these same front legs grasp it and hold it securely.  That is part of my mystique.  Whatever I focus my attention on becomes mine… and then the twist is that I become it, as well.  For that is the nature of trickster energy — what your native people call “heyoka.”  The process of becoming your true self breaks down the illusion that any of us are separate from each other, because the more you individuate, the more you release the perimeters that keep you separate from the rest of life.  More heyoka!  How would you treat me if you knew I was you?  Can you see how transformed life on this garden planet would be?  Can you dream the possibilities?

~ Cie Simurro aka Thunderbird Starwoman

26 Comments on “352: Photo shoot”

  1. ocean1025 says:

    Praying (or preying) Whotsits (or mantis) have always been a favorite insect of mine. You’ve portrayed them beautifully in these photos. Thanks, Robin.

  2. adrianduque89 says:

    wow these photos are excellent!

  3. These photos are absolutely stunning, Robin! Such amazing creatures! And you’ve captured them brilliantly. I’m quite frankly blown away. This post should be Freshly Pressed!

  4. “Posing for the camera”, the fourth to last image of the series was my favorite. Thanks for sharing these images

  5. Marianne says:

    Very interesting and beautiful, Robin. Love the ode. Thanks for sharing such inspiring messages.

  6. Kel says:

    wonderful macros
    makes me wonder what little creatures i miss seeing on my own acreage

  7. Is that America’s….. I mean “Nature’s Next Top Model”?

  8. Pat Bean says:

    I love the wotsits

  9. Fantastic shots!! They sure are strange looking creatures, I don’t see many of them… but probably also because I never looked!!

  10. Love the way you have captured the Wotsits! Such regal creatures and you have brought out their best features 🙂

  11. ElizOF says:

    Remarkable! Those praying mantis are kinda scary anyway… Keep it up. I have to figure a way to get people to collaborate and build connections. 🙂

  12. dragonfae says:

    Awesome pictures Robin! And what a great post … thank you for giving us all a little insight into these interesting creatures. 🙂

    Oh, and hubby is very impressed that they let you get close and even talk to them … he’s forever being frustrated by insects who fly off before he’s ready for the shot. 😛

  13. Haha… LOVE that “You want ME to model… Oh GOSH !!” pose of your first wotsit… They sure are a freaky looking beasty… Great shots Robin..

  14. “I’m ready for my close-up…”

  15. Karma says:

    Love that you adopted Brian’s “wotsit” term! “Posing for the camera” is just perfect – I love the curl of the antennae and the way it appears to look right at you. They are fascinating creatures.

  16. ladyfi says:

    Wow – such amazingly lovely creatures. Wonderful macro shots!

  17. Fantastic photo shoot! That first shot is so eye-popping! Nice work.

  18. jenna says:

    They’re among my favorite bugs – this was very enjoyable.

  19. milkayphoto says:

    Soooo jealous of your exotic subjects! Both the males and the females aren’t camera shy now, are they? Lucky you! 🙂

  20. Fantastic photos of such an exotic-looking creature! 🙂

  21. Robin says:

    Thank you so much everyone! I’m glad you enjoyed the Praying Wotsits. 😀

  22. bearyweather says:

    I still have never seen one of these … wonder if they live this far north? Seems to me you have the makings of a Praying Calendar! What a great photography model to find.

  23. Barbara Rodgers says:

    Wow, Robin, these are amazing pictures of your praying mantises! What a population of them you seem to have! I especially like the one you captioned, “Posing for the camera.” They really do seem to be posing for the camera.

    We had one in our garden last year and when Tim was photographing her, she would turn her head toward the camera and follow the camera and Tim with her eyes. I can’t think of another insect that seems so aware of the presence of humans… We named her Iris because I discovered her on an iris leaf and I was told that the female eats the male after mating, so I assumed she must have been a she… 🙂

  24. Dana says:

    These are incredible! They really do look like they are posing for your camera. Work it, Praying Wotsits! 🙂

Thank you for visiting, and for commenting. I hope you'll join me at my new blog home, Breezes at Dawn.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.