A MAGICAL Encounter


It was a lovely rainy day, perfect time to go searching for spiders, and that I am specializing for last five years. The expedition was held in a hilly area with fabulous landscape and a lot of greenery. While I was returning to my forest resort, near a tribal village, I chanced upon a spiky stick mantis "Paratoxodera sp"!

The zone is abundant in humidity. Not only for the tropical climate but even due to the great number of trees that carry out transpiration, the water absorbed and stored up in the leaves, is transformed into vapor and released in the air. This phenomenon is important because it creates a perfect habitat for many species that needs humidity for their own physiological existence. Mantis are some of those animals!

Many species of mantis exist, some of them are bred as pets or for conservation, and they have got several dimensions and colours. This one is long 5 inches and seems like a real wooden stick! In fact, these insects have adapted to live as one with the surroundings, exploited the mimicry. The mimicry is the capacity of an animal to mimic the feature of another one to get advantage as a consequence of the co evolution with plants, and in this case it camouflages itself next to the cortex or leaves to escape and to avoid predators. Another peculiarity of them is that some species do the parthenogenesis that is that reproductive mechanism which only female adults of some reptiles, birds and insects have, and for which the egg cell can divide although this one hasn’t been fertilized. But many people don’t image instead they can be threatened by deforestation, pesticides and illegal trade. You can so image how they are spectacular and very curious to study or only to find in the wild. It’s very difficult to educate to this kind of animal group because our culture prefers to pay attention, in conservationist terms, too big or well-known animals. But we have to remember that Nature has got an equilibrium point and they take part of her.

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