An odd thing happened this afternoon as I was exploring a little section of the Río Grande. I looked down on the arm of my short-sleeve shirt and realised I had snagged a some little twigs, probably as I had been pushing through some brush, and it was only as I was set to brush them off that I realised it was a praying mantis.

Praying mantises are not at all uncommon but they are so beautifully camouflaged that they go quite unnoticed and, of course, they have the habit of standing stock still while waiting for some prey to come close enough to snare with their front legs. Here in the south of Europe we have our Mantises year-round but further north they may not survive the winter and only the eggs make it through.

The mantis that had hitched a ride on my sleeve was soon transferred to a plant and it simply “vanished” in the dry foliage as soon as I put it there and, even examining the photo I took immediately afterwards, I´m not sure exactly where it is!

The European Mantis has the binomial Mantis religiosa and is native to Europe, Africa and Asia. It made its way across to the States on a consignment of nursery plants from southern Europe and is the official sate insect of Connecticut, of all places.

Once the mantis was safely transferred to his new lodgings I wandered along the river in search of a gypsy barbel. My own prayers were answered eventually when, just as it seemed that my luck had run out, a fish bowed down picked up the little nymph I had cast to him.


It´s a pretty lousy photo but here we can see our little friend Mantis religiosa on my person somewhere. 


Hiding in plain sight! He´s in here somewhere.


Just the one today but he was a fine fish.