Absent For A Bit ....

I am away for a little while working on a few or more episodes for The Adventures of My Space Alien Alter Ego story ... will return (to Earth) soon!

Notice: Blogger has screwed up and lost a bunch of photos out of my blog! They are replaced with a gray silhouette of a human head. I will eventually get them replaced with the correct photo, it may take a while to find and fix everything. So some of my stories don't make much sense without their photos, sorry for the inconvenience.



Polly - A Staying Praying Mantis

I saw something on my right arm that looked like a mosquito. I stopped my left hand half way on its path of supreme destruction to a cute tiny praying mantis. It was the smallest one that I have ever seen.

It crawled majestically on my hand, a kind of Obi Wan Kinobi prance. I kept turning my hand so the P-Mantis was constantly seeing me reappear on his horizon like a giant man moon appearing in his eastern sky. I talked to him with the same gentle higher register reserved for calming dogs and the P-Mantis would stop and look at me with that Roswell alien triangular shaped head and arched back lifting just one back leg, the right one slowly up and down. I asked him if he wanted me to name him Molly or Dolly - the names of the two dogs of my father-in-law that I had just met a few hours earlier. I gave him neither name but released him onto the leaf of a red bell pepper plant near the first bloom of the season. I guess he can have the name Polly, Polly the Praying Mantis. Molly, Dolly, and Polly.

I got out my best camera and flash unit to take photos. I noticed a few minutes ago that he is still there 5 hours later. He must feel right at home by my back door .... or maybe I have that backwards, his back door.

Oops. I think I meant Yoda, not Obi Wan Kinobi.

The next day on the 5th of May - I have been taking lots of pictures. It is now 9 AM, roughly a half day later and Polly the P-Mantis is in almost the same spot where I left him on the pepper plant ... I am not too sure that he likes the flash unit of the camera.

Teasing, Teething, Tricking and Trying. My wife asked me this morning if the P-Mantis really bit me last night on the finger. I said no, I was just rehashing a previous conversation that I had with the exuberant young dog Molly earlier in the evening. Molly likes to converse using her/his (?) teeth. No, the P-Mantis doesn't bite, I was just teasing the P-Mantis and accidentally tricked my wife - and I wasn't even trying.

I just realized that someone might see my "P-Mantis" moniker and accuse me of taking the "prayer out of mantis" - ha ha - that's my Silly Religion Insect Combo Joke of the Day. Actually the "P" is still there, I just took out the "raying".

Update 2010.05.06 Noon - Polly was on the pepper plant early this morning but has moved "next door" - a few millimeters - to the okra patch in the egg carton to check things out. Variety is the vegetable medley of life.

Update 2010.05.08 10 AM - Going for Walks Together - I have been practicing taking Polly for a walk on my finger. I use one hand to prod her/him toward my other hand and Polly finally crawls off the leaf onto my finger. So I now have a pet insect that roams freely in the veggie plants just inside my back door. My wife thinks it is humorously bizarre, that and talking to the insect! Got a regular old Dr. Dolittle thing goin' on down here. But 'Roam' may be too strong of a word, for Polly has a tendency to stay just on the pepper plants, one pair in particular.

Update 2010.05.10 8 AM - Day 6 of Polly-wood

This Morning's Stroll on My Finger - Polly wandered from one of my hands to another, and would pause randomly to stare at me. Of course with me being in control of the "earth orientation" beneath her/him as I would constantly reorient, my giant smile tends to be always right there. (Imagine the sun always moving in the sky above you tending to always be in the north, well, that was Polly-wood today. Ernest always on the north.

When Polly stops, she/he rocks slowly sideways, sometimes on 6, sometimes on 4 legs with the front two tucked under chin. Today at one point there was a time of intense (what appeared to be) scrubbing, where she/he was standing on just three legs while three were busy doing something mantis-cure-ishly.

Update 2010.05.12 00:05 - Putting Polly in an Alternate Pepper Pasture

I was extra careful today. I moved Polly from one pair of pepper plants to a different pair that were going to stay indoors today while Polly's usual humble abode pepper plant pair went outside for the day of sunshine.

I shot some pictures of Polly on my finger and will post one soon. I finally got a card reader for the laptop because the living room server is down waiting on a part. The peg of the bracket for the heat sink and fan of the microprocessor broke off, causing the heat sink and fan to literally crash inside my computer; there was a loud thud when it died. So later today maybe with a Polly on my finger photo.

Update 2010.05.14 - Finger Photos Finally !!!

Update 2010.05.31 - A Frightening Moment in Insect "Land"
Just had a hilarious frightening moment with Polly. I was holding her/him on the tip of my index finger and suddenly she/he decided to JUMP the six inch gap to land on my NOSE! But I had my glasses pushed up on my forehead so she/he walked across my EYE then on up into my hair.

I very carefully positioned my hand so that she/he would crawl onto it and with great relief the journey was brief, in the fur-est of Ernie.

Update 2010.06.02 - Where, Oh, Where? 

Back of Milk Carton Notification Amber Alert: Polly Gone (Sadness Prevails) Why do you always have to wait 24 hours before filling out a missing person report with the authorities? It is longer or shorter when it comes to insects?

Update 2010.06.08 - The Prodigal

YEA !!!!!! There IS joy in Mudville today, for the prodigal Polly the praying mantis has picked the pepper plant to return to for awhile !!!!! I think she/he was possibly away in the forest that is the giant purple onion plant "next door".

Speaking of Mudville, as I was showing the praying mantis to Cooper just now I noticed there was quite a bit of dried dirt from former mud (from where though?!?!?) across his top of his nose. I guess we were playing ball rather wildly this morning, but now I think it was from possibly pulling weeds around the tomato plants, the really only accessible mud at the moment for a mutt around here. So maybe I have a potential truffle hunting hound on my hands, huh?

I watched Polly some more and (s)he definitely took off for the onion planter, jumping a two inch gap back to the onion stalk after a sojourn in the okra field (egg carton). So maybe the action of my bringing the Okra "8" back into the house this morning attracted the critter to crawl back up to the higher pepper-okra neighborhood mesa. (Mesa is the correct term, as it is an actual table.)

Update 2010.06.10 - Show Biz?!?!?

I saw a vehicle advertising a company named "Industrial Pest Management" today, and I thought to myself, "I wonder who's side they are on? Bugs need managers? Like, show-biz agents?" and then I thought of my praying mantis. And then I thought how Michael Jackson turned out. And then I decided, "No, I'm not going to tell Polly anything about this"

Update 2010.06.14 - The Blind-"s" Side

Herding praying mantis is easier than herding cats, but not by much. I had taken the 8-pack-of-okra mini-forest outside for a day of sunshine, and obviously they are her/his favorite, for Polly was on the vertical blinds looking "in vane" outside for them. She/he was "in-between-vanes" and also looking "in vain" because I had already brought them back inside. She/he just doesn't pay attention. Insects.

Update 2010.06.23 - Just Hanging Around In The Mourning

My heart melted this morning in mourning as I thought Polly was dead hanging from a leaf but she/he had just molted, and a few seconds later I saw her/him a small distance away. Relief. Later I saw a time-lapse video on youtube of a very similar mantid actually going through a molt process. Polly is about 3 times longer than when we first "met" 49 days ago. She/He really seems to like the miniature forest of 8 tiny okra plants that grow in an old egg carton (limited sunlight for stunted growth), as the red bell peppers have moved outside. I have never found Polly over on the oregano bush. I have found her/him on the vertical blinds a couple of times, so I have to be careful when I wander near the back door or open/close the blinds.

Polly is on the left and the molt is on the right side

Link to the YouTube molting video: Molting Praying Mantis

Update 2010.08.13 - Day 100 with Polly

While looking at my little friend this morning staring back at me from the midst of the miniature okra forest hanging on mid way up the stalk, I wondered if Polly has a name for me? Perhaps its the praying mantis equivalent of "giant talking mountain with corrective lens", "amusement park of fingers" or "water bringer". So, 'Aquarius' maybe?

Update 2010.08.25 - AM or FM ?

I noticed that Polly appears to have a damaged antenna, with the left one about half as long as the right one. I looked at old pictures of her/him and they used to be about the same length. Not knowing for sure how this affects reception, I don't know if this would be considered an AM-putation or an FM-putation.

Update 2010.09.21 - Good Bye To A Friend

I noticed that Polly had been missing for a few days. I found her/him on the floor near the orchid plant dead on Aug 29th. It has been several weeks since Polly passed away, but I haven't felt like writing very much. It is hard to lose a friend, especially a tiny one. Polly was buried in her/his favorite place in the Tiny Okra Forest with orchid blooms mixed in above.

A few days later on Sept 1st another praying mantis was trying to get in my house through the front door. I coaxed it up on my hand a few times and then shot some photos as it climbed around on me. I didn't give this praying mantis a name.

Good bye Polly, it was an interesting 100 some days - my saddened heart doesn't want to know the exact number.

NEXT YEAR: Imagine All The Mantises


Shelby Rebecca said...

Hi there. Thanks for sending me the information about your blog. Take care,

Nicoley:cole said...

I recently discovered a tiny praying mantis in my apartment in San Francisco. I think she may have hitched a ride while I was up north near Chico, CA on some starters we brought back for our garden ! I've learned a lot from researching about Penny (Funny that you named yours Polly). Yours was a male (six segments), as opposed to eight segments on females' thoraxes. Their exo-skeletons are fascinating, and my only worry is that she's not getting enough food. She's molted once, and she's only about an inch long, so she's still really young. I'm keeping an eye on her, but I just let her roam around my windowsill plants. Thanks for sharing your stories about Polly!

esbboston said...

Thanks for sharing your story! I have not seen any praying mantis this year around my place. I was actually veRy sad when Polly died, realizing that I was mourning an insect didn't really make much difference. Praying mantis are so much different than other insects that I have ever came across in there behavior towards humans. It seems like they experience some minor level of domestication. Thanks for letting me know the gender about my tiny friend. I had a praying mantis last year that hung around indoors for quite awhile, but it was always out of reach in a corner up high in the vertical blinds that I couldn't reach easily, so I didn't get to bond with it.

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