Saturday, November 11, 2006

Preying on a Mantis

A Carolina Mantis
A Carolina Mantis
Mark and I watched the latest episode of Battlestar Galactica, then noticed that we hadn't seen the cats for a while, which is unusual because they usually follow us around the house. Then Mark remembered that just before BSG he'd seen them looking very interested in something, but he hadn't stopped to see what it was that they were interested in.

Click here to watch the videoIt was therefore not for another hour or more that we investigated the matter. What we found, was a female (I think, because it had quite short wings and a rather large abdomen) Carolina Mantis (the state insect of South Carolina). I recognised it immediately as a type of praying mantis that had managed to enter our house (probably while the back door was open). I had never seen one in real-life before (except in entomology departments of zoos), so I wasted no time in grabbing my camera. Unfortunately, the creature had already been chased and terrorised by the cats for about an hour, so it was much the worse for wear.

A Carolina Mantis
A Cat Toy
(A bit the worse for wear)
It's final fate was a fitting end. Hungry female praying mantids have been known to bite the heads off and cannibalise the males during mating. While we were watching our next Friday night programme (Lead Balloon), Memory ran into the sitting room with an abdomen in her mouth. She put it down and tried to get it to move, but was quite disappointed to find that if something loses its head (and, in fact, the rest of the front half of its body) it likely to stop moving and becomes considerably less fun to play with. This is the stage at which Mark unceremoniously put the remainder of the mantis in the bin.

The lesson (if any) to be learnt from this incident is this:

If you're an insect and you want to keep your head -- keep out of the Goodacre house.


crystal said...

There's nothing like seeing a few pairs of bug legs sticking out of your cat's mouth :-) Once Grendel brought inside a live mouse and then we all chased it and each other around the house until I finally caught it and put it out.

Lorraine said...

Oh, those cats! Not that I have a ton of sympathy for insects in general but they really ought to put out a memo warning fellow creatures against your animals...if only someone lived to tell the tale...

sweet_melody51 said...

This is the very reason to have cats in the first place! They protect you from those deadly "head snatchers"! LOL...I do love those kittys....have 2 of my own and every creepy crawly in the neighborhood is in danger of having it's head removed....including snakes! My little black kitty loves to catch snakes.