Friday, June 28, 2013
Thursday, June 27, 2013
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
From beneath a fallen tree three small figures emerge. They move slowly and methodically, they are hunting.
One is slender and timid. He imitates a stick insect, rocking back and forth; he pretends to be a piece of vegetation swaying in the breeze. The second has a hide of very wrinkled skin that looks remarkably like the bark on an old branch. He moves very little and for extended periods of time he will stop, tuck his arms and legs in to his body and remain very still. The last of them is the Catcher. He is old and wrinkled and his hands and feet are sore and arthritic from many years of catching. He was once like the Stick Insect Mimic but over the years he has proven himself amongst his peers and so has risen up the ranks (the position of the Mimic is almost always given to the young or insolent of the community as it has a high mortality rate!). Although he has bulked up a bit and lost most of his insect-like features, he still shows remnants of his old life as a Mimic in the design of his arms where they are spiny and armor plated not to mention his long antennae.
Our trio of hunters has a unique hunting style. They use a trapping technique to catch their prey, which consist almost solely of foraging birds.
First the Branchlike will move into position (this position is usually determined after a few days of watching and noting various causeways or feeding spots where birds can be found foraging). Once the Branchlike is in position the Mimic will crawl on top of him and begin to imitate an insect. He will begin swaying back and forth like a stick insect – a very tempting meal for an unsuspecting bird.
Once the prey has come close enough to the Mimic, the Branchlike will begin to secrete a glue-like substance from the pores of his thick, bark-like skin. This will ensnare the prey but not the Mimic (he has developed a special layer if skin on his hands and feet that act as a release from the glue). Once the prey has become stuck it is all but done for. The Catcher makes his move. Despite his sore arthritic hands and feet he moves with deceptive quickness to snatch up the poor creature, ripping its body away and leaving only its feet to remain stuck to the back of the Branchlike. The Branchlike will wear these feet like medals for days after the hunt.