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Thursday
Dec182014

Mantis munches native bee

Warning: as the title suggests, this tale does not end well for the native bee!

Here's a little photo essay that started with photographing a native bee on Dianella. It turned out I wasn't the only one watching the bee. Without realising it, I took a series of shots that included a mantis slowly manoeuvring itself closer to the native bee. Then wham! The mantis caught the bee and proceeded to eat it ... and I kept clicking.

Below, here's the bee ...

And, unbeknownst to both the bee and I at this stage, here's the mantis
(the bee is on the flower closest to the mantis' head)

Here's the bee again - note all the yellow pollen she's collected

And closer comes the mantis ...

 ... until SWIPE! The mantis has the bee

And proceeds to eat it

 Legs first, including that pollen

 

I know it's a bit gruesome, but it was also astounding to see. For those interested, the bee was Lasioglossum (Chilalictus) lanarium and the mantis Archimantis latistyla (thanks to Ken Walker via Bowerbird for those). You can view higher resolution versions of these images here.

I often spot things in my photos that I didn't see when I took the shot. Spiders underneath flowers are probably the most common examples. However, it's not often that my subject is grabbed and eaten while I'm shooting it.  

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