Nature's Place



The last couple days there have been some colourful visitors to the house. An unusual black and orange wasp, an opalescent beetle and a kind of mantis or mantis mimic. A little colour from the deep psyche where light and beauty begin to take on wondrous form.

The orange wasp was the first to appear. It was on the end of a metal wire hanging from the ceiling of the shed. I wondered what it was doing there since there was obviously no food to be had and from the web I could see this was spider territory. Then it occurred to me, some wasps attack spiders and paralyse them with a sting and carry them off to a prepared nesting site where the wasp lays an egg or something on it to feed as it grows then seals the chamber and flies away on more wasp business. Ingenious, and it’s back again today in the same spot. I wonder why.

I’ll have to go and watch it for a while. But cautiously, this wasp is like others in my experience. It doesn’t like me to get too close. And I have to respect its intelligently defensive nature.


The beetle appeared after sunset last night. It was attracted to the light I leave on to keep insects from coming to the lights of the house and getting in. It didn’t work last night there was so many beetles. The frogs must have had a ball though, signs of much eating left on the shed floor, insect shells.

I cleared a few of the opal beetles from the sink this morning and brought them to the table outside, alive and kicking. I shot them in the morning light of the sun filtered through passing clouds but the opalescence didn’t show in the image. I saw one of them as it shit a dark liquid and just then it lifted its carapace and spread its wings and flew off in the direction of the sun, towards me. As it did I was splashed by this dark liquid, the price of a photo.


When I went to the car this afternoon to put the camera in the boot I saw what looks like a praying mantis but I’ve never seen one like this before, with the colour and the wings and size. I’ve seen shades of green and grey and camouflage but not this one. It might be a mimic to protect it from other creatures, I have seen a picture of a wasp that mimics the mantis but those front arms look potent to me, big and strong, authentic. Amazing little creatures.

I went to the nearby forest for a walk and the mantis was still on the rear windscreen when I got there, and when I got back. I didn’t go fast. It’s still there as the sun goes down and I write this.
Copyright Reserved / Mark Berkery

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