'Insect' is the Illustration Friday topic this week. I like insects and have painted quite a few for Illustration friday over the months so I wasn't sure what to do for this topic initially.
Then i thought about praying mantises and realised i hadn't ever drawn one I was happy with.
They are interesting insects.
Their heads can swivel round by 180 degress to keep a look-out for prey which they catch wih their spiky modified front legs. Thes folded front legs are the origin of the name Praying mantis Mantis religiosa , since they were thought to look like a person praying.
There are about 2500 species of praying mantis and they tend to be well camouflaged with greenish or brownish bodies which ressemble leaves and limbs that look like twigs. Flower mantises hide in flowers so they have pale pink or white bodies.
Females are generally larger than males and in most species the male is eaten by the female after mating [and sometimes during mating. ] They mainly eat other insects but some of the larger species can manage to catch and eat small lizards, tree frogs, mice and even humming birds.
Birds, bats, spiders and snakes eat praying mantises and some species of mantis have special ultrasonic hearing chambers which help them avoid being a bat's meal.
I thought I'd trying a new way of doing things with today's praying mantis - ie instead of flat colour and line using some texture and shading with this topic and i'm reasonably happy wth how it turned out. I think I need to try a few other creatuires using the same techniques to see whether its worth pursuing or not.