Friday, October 28, 2011

Mantid Update

I just went out to see the mantids and could find no adults and only two nymphs. The eggs are still in place.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ruby Eyes

These "Decorator Bugs" are amazingly well-camouflaged. If not for the ruby eye and antenna, there's no way I would have known this was a bug. Sorry for the dark photo, but these guys slink back into protection pretty quickly when I approach.

Flower for Friends

This is for Katy Hobgood over at C-O-N-G-O. She and her co-bugger apparently have an affinity for such things. Check their stuff out here!

Decorator Bugs

I'm calling these decorator bugs because they seem to have camouflaged themselves with detritus and other bug parts. We saw about eight of them, but they are quick and elusive...and the freakin' mosquitoes were lovin' me! I'll get more photos soon. In the meantime, if you know what they are, please let me know.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Mantid - Feast and Flies

This is the one you should enlarge and look at the details. I've been focused on the pregnant female and subsequent egg-laying activities and have deferred posting this the last couple of days. I caught one of the mantid nymphs eating a beetle while being swarmed by opportunistic flies. More after the crying baby gets out of the tub!

OK, Baby under control. If you think the flies are small (given that the mantid nymph is about 2 cm, they can't be much bigger than a millimeter) then check out the even smaller bug on one of the flies (circled on the bottom photo)!

Mantid - Laying Eggs

Yesterday I found an adult female that appeared to be pregnant on a sisal plant not far from the spiny purple flowers where the mantids live. This morning I went out to check on her and she was just finishing laying her eggs deep inside the sisal plant! I didn't want to disturb her too much, but here are a few photos. The egg sack, known as an oothica, is about 4cm long.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Mantid - Pregnant

Just this morning I commented that I could only find two adult Mantids. This afternoon, however, I spotted one on a nearby sisal plant...and she is now green and pregnant!!! This is very exciting news. Now I need to research their egg-laying process.

Mantids - Only Two

I went out this morning to visit the Mantids and could only find two adults. Yesterday there were five adults and I can usually find all five very easily. Each of the mantids, whether nymphs or adults, tend not to move around much, mostly staying on one flower. I'm not sure if they are 1) just hiding from me, 2) have mated and possibly been eaten by those ungrateful females, or 3) simply flown off to start a new colony. I suppose they could have been eaten by something else, but these mantids seem fairly formidable and I find it unlikely that three would get devoured overnight.

The remaining two adults have distinctive markings. In fact, the design on their wings is actually a mirror image of the other. I'll keep an eye on these two and the remaining nymphs.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ant and Aphids

The mosquitoes were relentless this evening so I only had the fortitude for a few shots. But I got a good one of an ant hanging out with the aphids.

Another Cutie of a Cricket

I went out on a bug safari last night and came back disappointed, mostly in my photographs. Here's the only shot that made the cut, another cute cricket.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Love on the Fly

I love the little beards on these flies. Looks like they need a Harley...and a hotel.

Portrait - Dragonfly

Click on the third photo for more detail!

Ant vs the Aphids

There is no doubt who wins this battle. The ant was in no hurry at all. Eat an Aphid, get a drink of water. Repeat as necessary.

Just Keep Eating

Water Droplet - Mantid

Check out the water droplet just below the mantid's head!
Caught the reflection of a nearby flower.
This individual just molted to an adult last night.
I can now count 6 adults and about 8 nymphs.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Tree of Pain

There was a monkey in our backyard this afternoon, but he was out of range for a decent photo. But the tree itself is worthy of a photo...the tree of pain. Good luck little monkey!

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Amelia and I joined our friend Amy at the Uganda Wildlife Education Center this morning. The zoo is absolutely fantastic! Amelia loved seeing the giraffes and, surprisingly, the big snakes! We'll definitely be going back.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Cocoon and Moths

We've got lots of caterpillars transforming into moths at the moment.

Amelia's Jumping Spider

I was walking past the car with Diane and Amelia this afternoon and Amelia says, "Jumping Spider, Jumping Spider, Jumping Spider". And sure enough, there was a big black and white jumping spider on the car. Good find Amelia.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Mantid Wing Development

Here's a decent shot of a mantid nymph's wing development...and technique for devouring a moth.

Check out the little water droplet on the mantid's shoulder!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cutie of a Cricket

Not such a Cutie

Mantid and the Moth

I watched this mantid nymph grab a moth right out of the air this morning...ate its twitching head off in no time.

I threw this shot in just to document the development of the mantids. Still no wings under the abdomen. Nice pose.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Mature Spiny Flower Mantis

This evening I saw my first mature Spiny Flower Mantis in the backyard. I don't think this individual belongs to the same cohort of nymphs that are still in the development stages. It was already quite dark outside when I found this guy, so I'll go back out tomorrow and see if I can get some better photos.

A Few Shots

Monday, October 3, 2011


I took a walk into the backyard before dinner this evening and shot a few bugs.