I left home today and almost immediately noticed a mantis on the mirror of a scooter parked near my place in Xìnyì District 信義區, Taipei 台北. This afforded me an opportunity to snap a rather unusual self-portrait, as you can see. Right after taking this photo the mantis surprised me by jumping onto my pants and crawling up to my shoulder. It soon disappeared out of sight, though I could feel forelimbs brush against the back of my neck. Not wanting to possibly crush it by accident, I wandered down the street until I found a row of trees where the mantis gracefully disembarked. If I were to anthropomorphize this resplendent creature I’d say it was in some distress on that scooter and gladly took the opportunity to hitch a ride to the relative safety of what nature remains in this highly urbanized area, a service I was happy to provide.
Despite my background in biology I am no expert in identifying individual species but I’d hazard an educated guess that this is a male Mantis religiosa, the very same species of mantis commonly found around where I grew up in Canada. If so, this mantis is invasive to North America, just as I am invasive here in Asia.