SpaghettiPhoto - The praying mantis (Mantis religiosa) [ENG/ITA]

2년 전
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When you live in the city, a routine is set up day by day that forces your mind to expect certain things, and not others, to speed up when you leave the house. Everything revolves around doing things as quickly as possible, to optimize the time it takes to get to university or work. For this reason, when you pull the plug and decide to go to live in the country, at least in the first period, you are still so drunk with the city, that the only animal life form that you can expect are mosquitoes as big as elephants, memory of long evenings spent strolling through the center of Milan... But the countryside is not the center of Milan, and every step you move, even just in the garden, is a step in a nature full of life and, after a while, you get used to opening your eyes always expecting something, even just a spider that, when you move a piece of furniture in the house, gets away in a fleeting way. Last morning, however, I must have woken up more sleepy than usual when I ventured into the flowerbed to trim the rose bushes. Once I finished work, passing between two plants, I heard an unusual rustling sound as if something was blowing. Initially, I thought it was a lizard in the dry grass, but it came from a too high point, right next to my head. So, I thought about it again, I turned around and found that what looked like a dry leaf, actually, it was a mantis and I must say that it was not at all happy to see me.

Quando si vive in città, giorno per giorno si instaura una routine che costringe la tua mente ad aspettarsi, quando esce di casa, determinate cose e non altre con lo scopo di velocizzare. Tutto gira attorno a fare le cose il più velocemente possibile, per ottimizzare il tempo che si impiega per arrivare in università o a lavoro. Per questo motivo, quando si stacca la spina e si decide di andare a vivere in campagna, almeno nel primo periodo, si è ancora talmente ubriachi della città che l’unica forma di vita animale che ci si aspetta sono zanzare grosse come elefanti, memoria di lunghe serate passate a zonzo per il centro di Milano… Ma la campagna non è il centro di Milano e ogni passo che si muove, anche solo nel giardino, è un passo in una natura piena di vita e, dopo un po’ di tempo, ci si fa l’abitudine ad aprire gli occhi aspettandosi sempre qualcosa, anche solo un ragnetto che, quando sposti un mobile in casa, si allontana in modo fugace. L’altra mattina, però, devo essermi svegliata più assonnata del solito quando mi sono avventurata nell’aiuola per cimare i cespugli delle rose dai boccioli ormai appassiti. Una volta finito il lavoro, passando tra due piante, ho sentito un insolito fruscio come se qualcosa mi stesse soffiando. Inizialmente, sovrappensiero, credevo fosse una lucertola nell’erba secca ma proveniva da un punto troppo alto, esattamente di fianco alla mia testa, così ci ho ripensato un attimo, mi sono voltata e ho scoperto che ciò che sembrava una foglia secca, in realtà era una mantide e devo dire che non era per niente felice di vedermi.


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In particular, it was a very common religious mantis, the most common species belonging to the order Mantodea. Religious mantises are widespread throughout Europe, Africa and North America where temperatures allow. Depending on the environment in which they live, they can develop marked cryptic abilities, and I can confirm this because when I turned around, after hearing the hissing and after a quick glance, I was convinced that it was a dry leaf.

In particolare, si tratta di una comunissima mantide religiosa, la specie più comune appartenente all’ordine Mantodea. Le mantidi religiose sono ampiamente diffuse in tutta Europa, in Africa e in Nord America dove le temperature lo consentono. A seconda dell’ambiente in cui vivono possono sviluppare spiccate capacità criptiche, e posso confermarlo perché quando mi sono voltata, dopo aver sentito il sibilo e dopo uno sguardo veloce, ero convinta che si trattasse di una foglia secca.


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Although it is not dangerous in any way against humans (it is very useful instead, in fact it is a very effective predator with regard to small insects and this favors the stability of ecosystems) is often perceived as something to be well away from, maybe for the dimensions that make all the parts of the body prickly visible or perhaps because of the bizarre legends that it brings with it because of its name (Mantis means prophet, and since ancient Greece the Mantids brought misfortune and were a bad omen). Another reason could lie in his bizarre habits during mating. It is in fact known that the female, once the copula is finished, is used to cannibalize the male to have enough energy to complete the reproductive process. An interesting question that may arise is: if the fate of the male is already written, evolutionarily what drives him to mate while knowing that he will then be brutally killed? The answer is much simpler than one might think, actually only the males who accept to "sacrifice" themselves will have the possibility to pass on their genes to future generations that, in turn, will do the same, otherwise they would die without having passed on anything of their own genetic heritage. Consequently, at the evolutionary level, the choice of mantis males is not without meaning.

Nonostante non sia in alcun modo pericolosa nei confronti dell’uomo (anzi è molto utile, infatti è un predatore molto efficace nei confronti di piccoli insetti e questo favorisce la stabilità degli ecosistemi) viene spesso percepita come qualcosa dalla quale stare bene alla larga, sarà per le dimensioni che rendono ben visibili tutte le parti del corpo pungenti o forse per le bizzarre leggende che porta con sé per via del suo nome (Mantis significa profeta, e fin dall’antica Grecia le Mantidi portavano sventure ed erano un cattivo presagio). Un altro motivo potrebbe risiedere nelle sue bizzarre abitudini durante l’accoppiamento. È infatti noto come la femmina, una volta terminata la copula, sia solita cannibalizzare il maschio per avere energie a sufficienza nel portare a termine il processo riproduttivo. Una domanda interessante che potrebbe sorgere è: se il destino del maschio è già scritto, evolutivamente cosa lo spinge ad accoppiarsi pur sapendo che poi verrà brutalmente ucciso? La risposta è molto più semplice di quanto si possa pensare, in realtà solo i maschi che accettano di “sacrificarsi” avranno la possibilità di tramandare i propri geni alle generazioni future che a loro volta faranno lo stesso, diversamente morirebbero senza aver tramandato alcunché del proprio patrimonio genetico. Di conseguenza, a livello evolutivo, non è priva di senso la scelta che operano i maschi delle mantidi.


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Another interesting behavior emerges from the first moment in which these animals are approached a bit too much, they do not have a friendly attitude but on the other hand those who would be in perceiving a giant being that remains still pointing the lens of a camera at him? When mantises feel threatened, in fact, they exhibit a behavior defined as "terrifying" or aimed at frightening and removing what they perceive as a danger. It usually consists in assuming a position that makes the individual seem much larger than what it actually is (spreads its wings, spreads its legs etc…) showing, in some cases, elements that would normally remain hidden. In this case there are obvious spots in the center of the chest that act as "fake eyes" that should discourage a potential predator.

Un altro comportamento interessante emerge dal primo istante in cui ci si avvicina un po’ troppo a questi animali, non hanno un atteggiamento amichevole ma d’altronde chi lo sarebbe nel percepire un essere gigante che rimane fermo puntando addosso l’obiettivo di una macchina fotografica? Quando le mantidi si sentono minacciate, infatti, esibiscono un comportamento definito “terrifico” ovvero volto a spaventare e allontanare ciò che percepiscono come un pericolo. Solitamente consiste nell’assumere una posizione che fa sembrare l’individuo molto più grosso di quello che in realtà è (spalanca le ali, allarga le zampe etc...) mostrando, in alcuni casi, degli elementi che normalmente resterebbero nascosti. In questo caso sono evidenti delle macchie al centro del petto che fungono da “finti occhi” che dovrebbero scoraggiare un potenziale predatore.


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References

This post has been also published on Narrative.


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Hello there @spaghettisceince :)

Another wonderful post decorated with sunning photos!

I love the way you started this post. Reflecting about the parallels of city and country life. I, myself, underwent a similar situation a few years back. It brought back many, many memories :)

I am not a big fan of insects. Much less of spiders! But, one comes to appreciate and respect them. I learnt that I don't have to like them in order to preserve and care for their existence. And this understanding came to me after having to co-exist with them. Just like you said, through moving a piece of furniture and finding one underneath it.

Thank you for teaching us (me) that despite their scary, threatening looks mantis are just trying to protect themselves and pose no threat to us!

All the best to you :)

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Thank you very much, it's nice that someone reads our posts so carefully to understand all the intentions we had in writing it :) We really like the idea of ​​conveying the very important message behind the fact that some animals, no matter how much we like them or not , they are simply there and often play a very important role in our lives. It is enough to learn to live with it without destroying each other.

Thanks again, to the next post! :)

We always consider it a treat to find a praying mantis. I think their camouflage renders them invisible and there were many more about than we suspect. So great is the mystique surrounding the mantis, that many people believe (I did once) it is illegal to this insect.

Your photos, and narrative, are outstanding. I caught this because of SteeSTEM Distilled. That is one useful magazine :)


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Da un punto di vista biologico tramandare i propri geni ci può stare... ma cavoli! Questo scopa una volta sola 😲

Comunque al di là delle mie sparate, ottimo lavoro come sempre.
Un saluto, nicola

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Ahahah grazie mille! Effettivamente dal nostro punto di vista è inconcepibile... Ma a quanto pare le vie della natura sono infinite 😂

  ·  2년 전

really stunning shots...


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Thank you so much! :)

Cool pictures! Found a white one last week in my garden :)

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Beautiful! Actually since I wrote the post and I'm careful in the garden I've already found two more, there are more than we can think of :)

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