Portraits of The Predator and the Prey

Heads will not roll. 

The Hunger Games will not begin. 

Preying does not always work. 

It's Aug. 2, 2020 and a praying mantis decides to occupy a specially stunning Mexican sunflower. Specifically, it's a female Stagmomantis limbata occupying a Tithonia rotundifolia

It's a brilliant day, the kind of day that makes you love the world and everything in it. You know those kinds of days? No? Thought not. Me, neither.  

A honey bee, Apis mellifera, lands on the Orange Blossom Special—no connection to the deluxe-passenger train that Johnny Cash made famous, the train that links New York City to Miami.

Ah, but it's a brilliant day, yes, indeed.

Ms. Honey Bee begins sipping nectar to share with her colony. 

Ms. Mantis has no intention of sharing anything. 

Ms. Mantis: “Well, hello there, Ms. Honey Bee! You are looking quite delicious today!” 

Ms. Honey Bee: “Excuse me? Oh, yes, this nectar is delicious. Try some!” 

Ms. Mantis: “No, thanks, I am a carnivore.”

Ms. Honey Bee: “Well, I'm a vegetarian!”

Ms. Mantis: “Well, I can bite your head off.” 

Ms. Honey Bee: “That would not be a nice thing to do. Where are your manners?” 

Ms. Mantis: “Manners? Do you think I'm Ms. Manners? I'm Ms. Mantis not Ms. Manners.” 

Ms. Honey Bee: “Well, just telling you that I'm a vegetarian.” 

Ms. Mantis: “I eat vegetarians.”  

Ms. Honey Bee: "Not today!" Abruptly, she takes flight, buzzing off faster than Johnny Cash can mimic the "choo choo" of the Orange Blossom Special. 

Conclusions? There are three:

  • Heads do not always roll when a flower is double-occupied by a praying mantis and a honey bee.
  • The Hunger Games do not always begin.
  • Preying does not always work.

 (Editor's Note: No organisms were injured in the making of these photographs. The mantis wanted to, though!)