I still need nature photos from readers (remember, we usually go through 7 contributions a week), so if you have good ones, send them in.
The superb nature photographer Kurt, also known as “orionmystery,” who produces the website Up Close With Nature, has given permission to reproduce some of his photographs. Thanks to reader Mark Sturtevant, who helped with that, and also sent the following notes on two of the photos (indented):
I hang out at a couple different macrophotography forums, and recently I saw a contribution from the great photographer known as orionmystery (Kurt). You have occasionally posted pictures of his, and so I thought you would be interested in a recent set of pictures of preying mantises that he has taken. He has given me permission to forward this to you, and if suitable perhaps it could make its way to WEIT with the proper links and citations.
Through his web site one can link from there to his Flickr page to see two sets of pictures of mantises from Malaysia. I attach some screenshots to help provide direction.
The first is of a young orchid mantis (Hymenopus coronatus). These vary in color from white to pink, and I assume they hang out a lot on flowers by the looks of them. This species is a candidate for the most beautiful insect in the world.
JAC: Orchid mantises are mimics of flowers, hiding among them to grab a pollinator when it thinks its about to get some nectar.
As lovely as that is, the orchid mantis is well known and I expect you may have posted pictures of them at one time or another. But it was the second species that really got me to send this to you since I had not seen it before. It is known as the dragon mantis, or feather mantis (Toxodera beieri). Not as pretty, certainly, but those leafy ornaments on the body are all mantis! I am still geeking out about this one, and feel gladdened that there are still some pretty amazing things out there to see. [JAC: If you want to buy one of these, it’ll cost you nearly a thousand bucks!]
I’ll add a few more of Kurt’s photos. This is the white-bellied rat snake, Ptyas fusca, from Southeast Asia:
Boiga cynodon, the dog-toothed cat snake from Asia:
Kurt identifies this as “Crab Spider (Thomisidae). Phrynarachne sp., Poring, Sabah.”
Here’s a mimetic spider, identified by Kurt as “Twig Like Feather Legged Spider, Uloboridae. Possibly Miagrammopes sp. ID credit: Nicky Bay.”
Kurt’s caption: “A really pretty female Heteropoda lunula”