Finally the wait (and worry) is over. There seems to be a number of newly flighted monarchs in the Northampton Community Gardens. They are beautifully intact and colorful leading me to believe they have just come out the chrysalis and will be heading to Mexico some time soon!
I also had a great look at an Eastern Tailed Blue in Tom’s Verbena patch. They are so delicate but striking in their colors. Take a look, the eye spots in the rear resemble eyes while the “tails” look like antennae. Scientists think that these distract predators away from the head and the butterfly can escape more easily!
And then when I thought the day couldn’t get any better, a fellow nature nerd, Nasir, was releasing a huge praying mantis that got stuck in his hallway. What an incredible creature! His daughter named it Caroline!
Did you know that they have two large compound eyes but only one ear?
“A praying mantis has two large, compound eyes that work together to help it decipher visual cues. But strangely, the praying mantis has just a single ear, located on the underside of its belly, just forward of its hind legs. This means the mantid cannot discriminate the direction of sound, nor its frequency. What it can do is detect ultrasound, or sound produced by echolocating bats. Studies have shown that praying mantids are quite good at evading bats. A mantis in flight will essentially stop, drop, and roll in midair, dive bombing away from the hungry predator. Not all mantids have an ear, and those that don’t are typically flightless, so they don’t have to flee flying predators like bats.
If you want some more cool facts about praying mantids (yep, that’s the plural of mantis) click on 10 interesting facts.
Here’s some more pics, click on them to make them bigger:
Coming soon, I promise…