Final Score

IMG_8228

Mantis 1 Grasshopper 0

IMG_8214

Braconid Wasp 1 Hornworm 0

It can be a dangerous world out there.

Advertisements

43 comments on “Final Score

  1. BeeHappee says:

    Nice captures! That wasp technique with chewing off the hornworm from inside out gives me the creeps of some horror movie.

    Like

  2. smcasson says:

    Wow very observant, Bill! Cool stuff.

    Like

    • Bill says:

      The mantis lunching on the grasshopper was on the walkway by our front door.

      Whenever I see a hornworm with the wasp eggs on it, I gently remove it from the plant and toss it away from it. I don’t want to dislodge the eggs, but I do want to deny the worm any more bites of the tomato plant. In this case I obviously hadn’t noticed the worm before, as it had been finished off while still attached to the plant.

      Like

  3. shoreacres says:

    I just spent too much time trying to find the passage in Annie Dillard where she describes an unfortunate practice of the female mantis: eating her partner after mating. In that case, I suppose the score would be mantis 1, mantis 0.

    Like

  4. nebraskadave says:

    Bill, we most time think about the violence in humans but the insect and animal world is nothing but eat and be eaten. I think I’ll stick with the not so perfect human life. It is fascinating how the balance of nature works until mankind comes along and thinks he/she can do it better. I often think about what Terra Nova Gardens looked like when I started and fast forward to the time when my garden skills can no longer be there. I’ve seen first hand what happens in just one year without much attention. In a matter of just a couple years, it will be back as if I had never been there. Nature has all the time in the world to take back what we have tried to improve.

    Have a great garden insect day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      As much as I wish it weren’t true, violence and predation are just part of the natural world. I discuss this and its implications for animal welfare in my book (you will have your copy soon!).

      And you’re right, anything we do to “improve” land is temporary. Nature will claim it back when we’re gone and in due course erase our work.

      Like

  5. gatheringplaceseasonfour says:

    are we sure this is not her husband? this is what happens as soon as “ejaculation” – she literally eats him.

    Like

    • gatheringplaceseasonfour says:

      one species…. the Mantis religiosa, in which … necessary that the head be removed for the mating to take effect properly. [In general, though, s]exual cannibalism occurs most often if the female is hungry. But eating the head does causes the body to ejaculate faster.
      One species … there are over 2,000 species of praying mantis.

      Like

    • Bill says:

      I’m pretty sure the deceased is a grasshopper.

      It seems common in the natural world for males to be tolerated only as long as necessary, then discarded. Bees do it too. And the vast majority of male farm animals don’t get to enjoy long happy lives on the farm. We men might reasonably wonder what the future holds for our gender.

      Like

  6. Laurie Graves says:

    Yes, yes! And in response to Nebraskadave…I think humans have more choice about violence than most animals do. We can chose to eat more humanely. We can chose not to kill each other. We can chose to share and work cooperatively. Not that we always do. Not by a long shot. But we do have more of a choice. Most animals—such as the ones in this post—are just trying to earn their keep. No choice and therefore no viciousness involved.

    Like

    • Bill says:

      Yes, I think you’re right. As I mentioned to Dave, the way that John Wesley wrestled with and resolved that issue is specifically addressed in my book.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Laurie Graves says:

        Bill, I will order the book as soon as the budget allows. Look forward to reading it.

        Like

      • Bill says:

        You should consider asking the library to order it! I’m a big fan of libraries and it would be neat to have it available for the entire community. That way you can save your book budget for books they can’t get or won’t order. 🙂

        Like

      • Laurie Graves says:

        Will do, Bill! But even though we have a tiny budget, I do like to support writers and artists as much as I can. And farmers, of course 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    Yup! Nature not always Pretty or kind, LOL…
    (So much for Bambi, hey Walt – or should I say Michael Eisner?; )
    Eat or be eaten. Predator or prey. Nature abhors an imbalance. Ah, I gotta million of ’em!(done in my very best Jimmy Durante; )
    Nope, you can give me Mutual of Omaha or Jaques Cousteau, any day! Oh wait, I forgot one… Reality Bites!
    Isn’t Nature Totally Amazing?!
    Great pics!!

    Like

    • Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

      Oops, je m’excuse “Jacques”!
      Too many deer – too much feeding and not enough eating.
      Too many Canada Geese – too much feeding and not enough eating.
      Too many pidgeons… Need I go on?
      Sorry Laurie, when humans interfere in the natural balance of things, bad stuff happens as a result – they are the 6* of separation [combinations and permutations]: that we can’t even imagine, more often than not):
      To quote Bruce Cockburn “If a tree falls in the forest, does anybody hear?” To which I say, if it’s taken down before its time, who the blazes are we {humans} to assume that we “know best”? (Hu)Man’s pomposity – presumptive BS – will be our downfall. We need to learn; to understand and work WITH Nature, if we are to survive. Life is complicated and we don’t know everything. To assume otherwise will mean our demise (and by “our”, I mean all life on this planet Earth) or at least until Nature simply takes it back, hey Dave?; )
      Sorry… Shooting from the lip again.

      Liked by 2 people

      • gatheringplaceseasonfour says:

        hip is good – by the way, I may have reported that spouse is scheduled to have her first full joint replacement (hip) before November.

        Like

      • Bill says:

        We humans are part of nature, not its lord and master. But at the same time we have the great responsibility of stewardship and the gift of moral sensibilities that check our behavior in ways not applicable to the rest of the animal kingdom. At least not yet.

        Like

  8. When I lived in Africa, we had a giant mantis that would come around at night to capture the bugs on our screen door that were attracted by the lights of our house. (It competed with a frog and bats that joined the feast.) I would often sit in front of the ‘big screen’ and watch the action. –Curt

    Like

    • Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

      Um, Curt… When you say “giant” mantis, just how big are we talking?

      Like

      • As I recall, he was about 10 inches long. I certainly never saw one as big before or since. –Curt

        Like

      • Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

        TEN inches? HOLY MOLEY!!
        Y’know, I’ve always found the mantis’ around here absolutely fascinating creatures to watch – ’cause they always seem to watching you, just as intently…
        Not sure I could sit still long enough to be examined by a 10″ Praying Mantis; )

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ah, Deb, you’ve had the experience of their heads moving and seeming to follow your movements, like they are going to pounce on you. 🙂 There was a screen between the mantis and me, however, so I could be brave.

        Like

    • Bill says:

      We take our entertainment any way we can. 🙂 When we watch a couple of our goats decide to battle it out for a place in the herd’s pecking (butting?) order, Cherie jokes that it’s one of the ways farm people amuse themselves. I suppose if I were in Africa I might sometimes pour a glass of wine and watch giant mantises, frogs and bats control the bug population.

      Like

    • bobraxton says:

      This side of the ocean: Chinese mantis is a long, slender, brown and green praying mantis, … typically longer than most other praying mantises reaching just over 11 centimeters, and is the largest mantis species in North America (spread throughout much of southern New England, and the Northeast United States). [sub-Saharan Africa: Make sure that the female eats very well before you put the male in her enclosure. The female can be very aggressive to the male. (To read more about mantis mating and keeping the male alive, read this) Mating can take several hours, the male must subsequently be removed from the residence if you want him to live.]

      Like

  9. avwalters says:

    I always love to find a mantis in the garden. This year was the first year I ever had a hornworm. Alas! No chickens yet to share.

    Like

    • Bill says:

      When I was growing up I knew those worms as “tobacco worms.” I don’t recall ever seeing one on a tomato plant back then, probably because they were too busy eating tobacco. My guess is that the tobacco these days is so poisoned that a hornworm couldn’t eat it.

      They’re not a great problem in our gardens, as they’re easy to spot and easy to kill.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      Fascinating. I didn’t know any of that. Interestingly I originally captioned that photo “Praying Mantis 1, grasshopper 0.” But given how often I’ve misidentified creatures lately, I was afraid that might not be accurate (even though it’s what I’ve always called them) so I changed it to just “Mantis.” I don’t know what variety the one in the picture is, but I’d guess it’s the European variety. I’ve never bought any mantises for the garden and I’d be surprised if any of the country folks around here have either.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I saw that exact braconid wasp pic in my garden yesterday, and I didn’t know what I was looking at! Thanks!

    Like

    • Bill says:

      It’s a creepy sight isn’t it? I find the worms with the eggs on them quite often, but I usually take them off the plant and toss them aside. This one met its fate while still on the tomato plant.

      Like

  11. I love the Praying Mantis. As a child, I chased the boys with them in hand. I was a tough cookie tom boy haha! ❤
    Diana xo

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

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 )

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s