A global community of nature enthusiasts
photographing and learning about wildlife
This large mantis (10cm) was kind enough to spend a few hours on my balcony on the East African island of Zanzibar, and allowed me to photograph it close and under all angles. Check the notes to learn about the mantis eyes!
The balcony of a house near the beach, with plenty of planted and native vegetation and insects nearby.
The large round shape of compound eyes, made up of many specialized zones called ommatidia, allows for a much wider angle of view than single-aperture eyes. The ommatidia can be distinguished on the first shot. The eyes of honey bees, dragonflies and praying mantises are enhanced, as zones of the eyes are arranged in an area called fovea for acute vision and allow more light to be received for a higher resolution and acute estimation of short distance. The little dark dot in each eye are the bottoms of ommatidia (the white spots are my light source). Only ommatidia directed at you can “see” any part of you. Both seem to follow you no matter where you look from. On the 3rd shot it can be appreciated that the mantis can literally see behind its back! ID unknown. The markings on the head are distinctive as well the blue colour on the forelegs.