Sorry about that absence guys, yesterday was the last day of the week-long conference I was at and I am BEAT! But now it's back to work as normal and hopefully the inspiration I felt at the conference will carry me along until I can catch up with my sleep.
So on the last day of the conference I go to get on my bike to go home, and I was faced with an extra passenger trying to hitch a ride on the back. This is where my human side and my biologist side come head to head in a battle most people do not think should exist within me given my line of work.
So my first reaction was ah cool NO WAY! I didn't know we had praying mantises in Italy! TAKE A PICTURE!
But then my second reaction was... eeeewwwww. It's a bug. It's longer than my palm, that makes it a big bug. I don't want to ride home with a big bug behind my ass. How do I get rid of it?
Biologist pipes up: Don't kill it!
Human side retaliates: no no, squishing big bugs is just as eeewww-y as having them around, it solves nothing. But I don't know how mantises react when you swat them. Do they fly? Do they fly at you? Do they start freaking out? I don't like bugs that stay perfectly still and then freak when you try to get rid of them. Eeeeew, what do I do?
Fortunately for me a male colleague of mine chooses that minute to walk over as he had parked his bike right next to mine, at which point I find out that this interior battle is not as uncommon as I would have thought.
His first reaction: Crap do I have one on my bike?!
second reaction: hey, would you look at that, I've never seen one that wasn't behind glass!
third reaction: eeewww, I don't like bugs, sorry, don't know if I can help you.
But finally he couldn't say no to me, so what ended up happening was him taking out the cord attached to his keys, standing as far away as possible, swatting at it and punctuating each blow with "Go away! Go away!"
In conclusion? Turns out Italian mantises don't fly, nor do they jump, nor do they freak out. After the fifth swat it just kind of plopped to the ground and assumed what my colleague referred to as the thriller pose
Some kind of reaction to a perceived threat perhaps? We asked ourselves as we watched it being perfectly immobile again. There's our biologist showing again.