A silhouette of a mantis on the front window screen. A common name is praying mantises, because of the typical prayer-like stance, although the term is often misspelled as preying mantis, since mantises are predatory. The majority of mantises are ambush predators, waiting for prey to stray too near. The mantis then lashes out at remarkable speed. Prey items are caught and held securely with grasping, spiked forelegs.
The wings of the Widow Skimmer Dragonfly make it one of the most uniquely colored dragonflies with such distinctive markings. The Widow Skimmer is a dragonfly (Libellula luctuosa) of the Family Libellulidae and has a beautiful brownish-blue skimmer body with black curved color patterns on their wings that extend over half its wing surface followed by a bluish-white to light-pink outer stripe and a darkening at the wing-tips. The face (or head) is usually pale yellow or brown for juveniles and females, but darkens to black in mature males and ultimately turns to powder-blue later in life.
This Widow Skimmer was photographed at the wonderful Dawes Arboretum over the July 4th weekend, with temperatures reaching the mid 90s even the dragonflies were looking for ways to cool off. Because of the excessive heat, we only spent a few hours here enjoying the Japanese Garden and the island on the lake.
Grasshopper shedding its exoskeleton during the molting process on a Scots Pine tree. The process of molting is complicated and can take several hours. During this time, the insect is very vulnerable as it cannot escape from predators and therefore it tries to hide during the molting process. Some insects change colors to more closely blend in with the background during molting.