June 22, 2012
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It was BRUTALLY hot this Wednesday. The air conditioner kicked in at dawn (unheard of). My wife and I looked at each other and said, “What shall we do this morning?” We decided that we should stack firewood, 12 cords of which had just been delivered and dumped on our lawn.
Yes we did.
Twenty gallons of sweat and six cords later we decided to call it quits for the day, but just before we finished up, I noticed what appeared to be a wasp resting on one of the logs. I took a closer look, and realized it was NOT a wasp, it was ZOMG A MANTIDFLY.
Did this ever make up for all that @#$%^ing firewood.
Mantidflies have got to be one of the coolest-looking critters around. Super-neat neuropterans (the order containing the more familiar lacewings), they possess muscular, hooked, raptorial forelegs that look and function exactly like those borne by their namesakes, the true mantids. The adults are predators that hang around on flowers, where they can easily snag pollinators as they land.
Relatively uncommon (I’ve encountered less than half a dozen in my life), there are only four species in all of Canada. One species (this one, Climaciella brunnea) mimics a paper wasp (very well, I might add).
I took about eleventy-million photos of this highly cooperative and wonderfully photogenic little critter before setting it free back in my garden. Here are a few more of my faves:
* I’m going to be camping next week, but I’ve got a good lineup of posts ready for you! I’ll reply to any comments on my return 🙂