A Curious Observation

AKA The Happy Mealworm: In which the Singer lab acquires the mantid of my dreams.

So our lab got this beautiful praying mantis, right? We’re pretty sure it’s a girl because she’s got such a giant belly (hopefully full of eggs).



After our lab meeting, we decide that we want to feed her. We drop two male tiger moths into her container, but they just sit on the bottom of the tupperware, completely stationary. Bored, we then drop in a mealworm.

Now, the mealworm is all wriggling around right next to the mantis, but she pays it no mind and instead chooses to groom herself. So the mealworm is just crawling all over until it reaches one of the moths.

And starts chewing on it.

The moth, understandably, freaks the fuck out and starts fluttering all over the place. Which makes the praying mantis take notice, and WHAP! It reaches out and snags it. At this point, my entire lab cheers.

Here’s the interesting(?) part: As the mantid starts dropping mouthfuls of moth fuzz and wing pieces, the mealworm drags itself over to the carcass bits and starts munching away.

By this time the OTHER moth (you can see it in the background of the previous picture) starts moving around. Sooner or later, it crosses in front of the mantid.

She shoots…
She scores!!

The mealworm just chills out. It never gets eaten (and yes, this mantid has eaten mealworms before). We have no idea what happened.

Grad student: “Maybe it’s exuding something unpleasant?”
Professor Singer: “Like arrogance?”

Anyways, now you know what Wesleyan science students do on an off day.