I can’t remember who pointed this out to me, but it made me laugh. I present: The photo of a “wasp nest” that is actually a mantis ootheca.
Ootheca is a fancy way of saying “egg case.” Both roaches and mantids create egg cases, which is one of the reasons they are sometimes grouped together.
Check out this fascinating video of a mantis creating an egg case. (Interestingly, mantid egg cases are used in Chinese traditional medicine to treat urinary system problems. I have no idea how that connection came about.)
A mantis ootheca is not in any way like a wasp nest. The maximum size is about 1 inch in length (2.5cm). Yellowjacket and hornet nests can get very big–this one was about 6ft by 5 foot.
That’s hardly average–the nests I tend to get on my house seem to be about a foot or so before I clue in they are there–but big enough that using this photo deserves a bit of mockery.
It appears someone found the giant mantis mentioned earlier this week. The description sounds like classic cold war stuff:
“Dilke had been miniaturized, first man in a daring experiment to solve Earth’s hideous overcrowding. He was just quarter of an inch high and there was no going back.
Now Dilke, a microagent for British Intelligence, was on a mission to South America tracking down the source of a horrifying poison gas.
And in the tropical jungle Dilke was hunted…by Mamoth-fanged wolf-spiders and the ferocious praying mantis.”
Also, why is this dude wearing ugg boots?
I wanted to make sure you saw this one from The Onion:
“GRAND IMPERIAL THRONE ROOM, CASTLE ROACH—His Royal Highness, King Leopold Blattodea IV, undisputed lord and ruler of the cockroaches, expressed dismay and concern Monday that the recent rise in bedbug populations could threaten his sovereignty over the realm of human squalor.
Gathered in His Majesty’s begrimed throne room behind the bathroom sink, a solemn coterie of royal advisers and nobleroaches received the king’s proclamation in tense silence, awaiting his word on precisely how the cockroach kingdom would respond to the bedbug scourge.”
Fake Science explains Bees. Sort of.
Alex rants about overblown honeybee doom and gloom statements.
The filmmaker of Born into Brothels has a new project she wants to fund about mantids! The verbiage is a bit twee and new-agey, but the photography is spectacular.
Doug went on a trip (again) and came back with spectacular photos (again)–I especially like the teal grasshopper.
A truly amazing collection of insect sculptures–I think I’ve linked to this before, but well worth re-linking!
Ed finds a very nice bit of Rachel Carson history.
And last, but not least, David discusses a recent journal editorial that clearly does not get what ‘teh blogging’ is all about.
I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords:
“In the late 1980′s and early 1990′s, I found myself enmeshed in ufology, working as a licensed hypnotherapist with allegedly alien abductees. During this time, I made a telepathic connection with an entity, a tall gray insectoid looking alien, who said his name was Solux, and came from the other side of the sun. He resembles the description of the praying mantis aliens, allegedly more evolved, very tall and keeper of knowledge.”
Gosh, where to begin? I guess I wouldn’t assume that mantis aliens were all that friendly, but apparently his experience is different. He also has a special crystal that the mantis-alien appears in–check out the link above for some amusement.
A whole lot of people seem to come in contact with mantis aliens, enough that they are considered a specific type. They even got a mention in Demon-Haunted World.
There’s an interesting account from the late 90′s that documents the rise of the mantis alien type, and its occurrence in several abductee accounts. I recommend it.
I think the point Kottmeyer makes about the link between the rumors of sexual cannibalism and mantids’ predatory nature is probably spot on. Aliens (well, their human prey, anyway) seem obsessed with body orifices, and this would certainly fit the pattern.
The head of the mantis also does resemble the classic shape reported by alien-sighters, and if I could put my hands on it, there’s a great paper somewhere that discusses why insects are so often chosen as monsters in movies.
I’d also love for someone to scan me a copy of this:
Kottmeyer, Martin, “Bugs Baroque,” Ufo Magazine, 12, #4, July/August 1997, pp. 20-4.
Oddly enough, my university library doesn’t have UFO Magazine. Go figure.