As I left the Arboretum’s visitor center on Sunday, I noticed a crowd gathered around a shrub. It took me a second to see the shockingly large Chinese mantid (Tenodera aridifolia) that was the subject of everyone’s attention.
This praying mantis was larger than my hand. It had landed on someone’s leg and she had the peace of mind to place it on the shrub, where it stood still for many minutes.
I didn’t let summer’s final gasp of heat and humidity deter me from a walk in the Arboretum on Wednesday, although, after a month-long break in 90-degree heat, I felt like I was experiencing the first hot day of the season. I spotted a nursery web spider (Pisaurina mira) biding its time under a leaf. Note how it rests with its two front legs touching each other.
This spider has a dark stripe running down the middle that is bordered by a white margin, which undulates along its abdomen. Also note the white hairs along its body and the black spines on its legs.
Late last week, I went to the Explorers’ Garden on Bussey Hill on a pleasant, sunny day. A few butterflies passed me by but did not perch. The eastern kingbird below paused at a the top of a crabapple tree. In about a month, this kingbird will probably make its way to South America for the winter.