Praying Mantises and pseudopupils

There is quite an abundance of Praying Mantises at our place at present. Many are still nymphs and I’ve seen some that are only a couple of centimetres long.

Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis adult on Shiny Everlastings doing some night hunting

Praying Mantis

Nymph by night on a Golden Wattle

But I found myself wondering why they seem to have little pupils that looked at me in whichever angle I was viewing the insect.

Praying Mantis

Garden Praying Mantis nymph up close

Someone suggested that I look up the term pseudopupil. It does make a big difference knowing the right term to follow up! It turns out that when you look at a compound eye, the little eye sections or ommatidia that you are looking at are absorbing light. The others are reflecting it back at the observer. So the ones that the animal is seeing you with are dark.

Praying Mantis

Garden Praying Mantis nymph ready for action.

I’ve found these to be most enjoyable to photograph, not only because they look fantastic, but they are so curious. Quite a few have jumped onto my camera whilst being photographed. One that I was photographing a few weeks back gave the appearance of scratching its chin and then the top of its head as it tilted its tiny head from side to side trying to work me out. Fair enough too!

Praying Mantis

And you are...?

Garden Praying Mantis nymph – curious and curiouser?

I think the last shot is one of my all time favourites.

My exhibition of macrophotography at Dig Cafe in Newstead is finishing at the end of business on Sunday 28th January.


2 responses to “Praying Mantises and pseudopupils

  1. Quick word to say your blog is one of the best reasons for turning on the computer. Many thanks from Sarah.


  2. Hi Patrick,
    I will make sure that I get up to Newstead during the week and have a browse around your images, I’ve been trying to get up to Newstead for quite a while, but it’s always too bloody hot!
    Bruce Terrill,

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