Here, it is still warm…but I shall not dwell on that and things are buzzing with a kind of desperation that signals end of summer… nasty, cold, ache-inducing weather ahead. However, the garden, that all-embracing term we use for the mixture of tamed, quasi-tamed and utterly abandoned terrain we ‘own’… (we steward, in the scheme of things) still offers delights.
Two days ago, on a lavender bush outside my study window, I noticed a bit of ‘entomo-naughtiness’ going on. In fact, so involved were the protagonisti, one with the t’other that I was able to take out my white panel and set up… for a bit of voyeurism.
In a few of the many shots taken I noticed a particular female ‘gaze’ and, although anthropomorphism is to be avoided, I felt a caption might be in order. Mine is below the image… feel free to add your own, anything publishable we will leave up as comment!
Whatever human males may seek to convince themselves about their innate superiority, females have long realised that, for most males, the brain migrates south during puberty and remains below the equator. We males, it seems, are hopelessly (even helplessly) led by ‘lead’… that misnamed graphite which may be said to be (hopefully) present in the proverbial ‘pencil’. And, all sorts of stupid risks are taken… but none (I trust) in the human world involve the danger to life, limb and cranium that faces the male of the praying mantis (Mantis religiosa) in pursuit of ‘true love’… the term given to that numbing of all rationale thought by utter subjugation to a chemical cocktail: pheromones, nothing stronger… more devastating even than Newcastle Brown to a passionate Geordie.
Most of us have had our heads bitten off in the metaphorical sense for no better reason than we exist (don’t argue, that is good enough!) but here may I quote a caption from Michael Chinnery’s excellent Collins Pocket Guide to Insects of Britain and Western Europe ? Those of a sensitive and/or prurient disposition might look away NOW….
“A male mantis has already lost his head but continues to pump sperm into the female as she devours him”
NO, I am not making it up it is on page 62.
… Sometimes the blandness of ‘scientific prose’ is unbeatable. For decades, I have managed to get away with ‘pure filth’ when describing orchid pollination using the correct terminology: I remember one venerable lady tapping (nay thumping) her hearing aid in disbelief (delight?) in the front row of a talk I gave in deepest Dorset many moons ago. Happy days!