Since we moved to our New Mexico property 2 ½ months ago (20 acres of pinons, junipers, bright yellow snakeweed blooming in late summer along with a profusion of other wildflowers) we’ve been exploring not only the more flamboyant aspects of this territory, but the modest ones as well.
I’m talking about bugs!
Praying Mantises have always held a special place in my heart…especially the little baby ones, exact replicas of the big mama pest eaters. The first one I saw here was on our little cabin door a couple of months ago. I even wrote a Haiku poem about it!
Small green alien
upside down on cabin door
Praying for a moth
Last night I was peering out my kitchen window and saw a slightly larger version devouring a moth attracted to the light. It reminded me of my Florida studio, where at night big-eyed geckos would take advantage of our late hours and catch the bugs drawn to our desk lamps.
Funny how a BUG has figured out this neat trick!
I learned a few interesting factoids about Praying Mantises recently. One is that the name itself, “mantis” comes from a Greek word, “mantikos” that means soothsayer or prophet. I reckon that has something to do with the forelegs that are held together, as if the little guy was praying.
- Most praying mantises live in the tropics. I count myself lucky to live in a semi-desert place where they actually flourish!
- Praying mantises can turn their heads 180 degrees! Quite a talent!
- They share a common ancestor with cockroaches and termites
- And this weird one: praying mantises have only one ear…and that ear is located on it’s belly!
I have always been a bug (and other “little critter” lover), starting back in my Ohio childhood where I would give earthworms a ride in the little leather pouch on the back of my bicycle. I also went through a stage of capturing insects in jars, killing them with bug spray and mounting them on pins. A little gruesome perhaps, but it was all in the name of science, 10 year-old style.
But one of my proudest kid moments was the day I brought a caterpillar to 2nd grade for show and tell, and had him walk a tightrope strung between the handles of an Easter basket.
Now I’ve graduated to creating bugs in silver, gold and enamel jewelry. And THESE bugs you can wear. Have you seen my profusion of butterfly designs?
Yes, I still love bugs. Who knows, maybe some day I’ll create a praying mantis pin!