Saturday, September 10, 2011

Preying Mantis vs. Locust

While birding my lunch-hour patch the other day, I saw a grasshopper make a wildly confused jump and noticed a white something-or-other attached to it.  It landed in a small tuft of grass next to the trail so I took a look.  A preying mantis had the hopper clutched in its grasping front legs.  It was eating the locust alive!  The little boy in me was thrilled with the coolness of the situation and I watched and listened with delighted horror.  Yes, I did say "listened"...I could hear the mantis chewing through the locust's tough exoskeleton with its tiny but powerful jaws. The grasshopper jumped a few more times, but couldn't shake the skinny vampire.  I'm sure the feast and battle continued long after I left, but here are some close-up photos for your viewing pleasure (or not).
See the green gooey guts where the mantis had been chewing?!  Awesomely gross!

This photo shows the chewing going on that I can hear.

The circle of life kids...the circle of life.