Friday, August 14, 2009

Praying Mantis and my Super Cool Sister

You've seen this photo before, but it warrants another post. And you all know how over-the-top I can be about my various and sundry relatives, and so I'm sure you'll indulge this post about my little sister, Rina.

Rina works in the forests in Chicago. It's the perfect job for her, because she's always had a biologist-naturalist heart. (One year, she nursed, over many months, an abandoned, injured, baby bird back to health, and then convinced an entire contingent of my relatives to accompany her to the zoo for a Freedom Ceremony to release it into their protected-from-the world aviary. Except it turns out that it wasn't protected from the gorilla. So when the bird panicked, and hit a post in its first seconds of freedom, it fell, and while plummeting, was plucked out of the air by a gorilla, who promptly ate it. A 30-second story, start to finish.)

Last November, Rina came upon praying mantis casings. I guess these are like praying mantis eggs. They usually spend the winter outside, and hatch around the end of June.

Rina wanted to see what baby praying mantises and the hatching process would look like, so she brought the casings indoors and decided to duplicate their natural conditions--except indoors.

She put them in a refrigerator, and every day before work she went outside and checked the weather. If it was cold, she reduced the temperature. If it was raining, she sprayed them with water. If the day had 6 hours of sunshine, they got 6 hours of light. Eventually, she moved them to a window box planter. And she photographed the process with her new Nikon D40.

By the end of May, when nothing happened, she was ready to toss them. But by mid-June, while she watched, and shot away with her camera, they hatched! Some 30 little itty bitty perfectly formed praying mantises!

She said that if they didn't scatter, the mother would eat them. . . so they did! But one continued to stick around for a few days, visiting Rina.

Rina showed her photographs to the forest rangers, and now they've incorporated the photos and her descriptions of the process, into a brochure for distribution to the school district. How cool is that?! Unfortunately, my sister is not a high-tech person, doesn't have a computer, so can't email copies of the photos. But once I get to see them, or the brochures, I'll be sure to include a shot of them.

11 comments:

pat said...

Oh my gosh...I laughed so hard my side ached. I read this to Rick and this was better than most of his meds!! The gorilla/baby bird story is just the kind of thing to appeal to our sense of humor! Thank you, thank you (sorry, Rina!!!) How cool about the mantis (manti??) I would love to see the photos! I certainly hope Rina just disposed of the extra babies and didn't emulate the mother.....

Lauren said...

I love both these stories. The first one so so sweet, and sad, and the second a true testament to your sister's love of nature.

BTW, hope you had a very happy birthday, and I love your bracelet!

Suzy said...

Great post!

Suzy said...

Oh and BTW, I'd love to see her praying mantis shots! That is too cool!!

Nicki, said...

Oh my - the poor bird; however, it does sound like your sister has a knack for nurturing nature.

Maria said...

Ditto everything that Pat said. I had not heard the bird/gorilla saga. Poor Rina, but what a funny, funny story!

Jess said...

ROFL! That poor birdie! That sounds like something that would happen to me... I love your stories about your family, they sound like a great bunch!

Mandy said...

Oh my goodness...so so funny. You always crack me up. Did you miss your calling as a stand up comedian? You should at least do a column in your local newspaper. What wit you have!! I would LOVE to see that praying mantis series of photos. That would be just awesome.

Sharon said...

Oh great stories! I didn't know gorillas ate birds! bwahahaha

A digital camera and no computer? Is she one of those people who takes her card to walmart and does it all there? Oh my!

Jeanne said...

Thank you for sharing! That first story is so sweet...until the end! LOL You definitely have THE knack for wonderful story telling, Angela!

You've captured your sister's wonderful nurturing ways so well. I appreciate that I got to know her a little bit through your eyes.

Barb said...

Being part of the group that went to the zoo to give the poor bird a new home I would like to add that once the bird was released and we saw what happened not a word was spoken from anyone for at least 5 long minutes.