Monday, February 13, 2006

Mantis Monday for 2-13-06

Today’s Mantis Monday started out as the sharing of a single image, and has grown into an adventure of multi-hobby, multi-species and multi-national proportions! Here’s the story so far, in a rather large nutshell:

The picture above, of a praying mantis postage stamp, was sent to me by fellow bug aficionado and photographer extraordinaire Ethan Miller. (see his photoblog here) I thought it would make an excellent Mantis Monday submission, and I decided to search for a photo of this elegant, exotic species to go along with the stamp. It was then that I found a web page of praying mantis postage stamps from all over the world, which, in turn, was part of a whole large website of all kinds of insect stamps.

Anyway, along the bottom of the praying mantis stamp page, there were photos of some plastic model mantids. Cute ones I’ve never seen before. (That is, I’d never seen the models before. I am familiar with the species.) I especially liked the little orchid mantid, Hymenopus coronatus. I emailed the contact person (He’s in Japan) to see how on earth I could get one of those little plastic buggers for myself, and he replied that he would send it to me, in exchange for… postage stamps!… U.S. stamps, with birds on them.

So, Google was searched, eBay was utilized, and U.S. postage stamps with birds on them are now on their way to Japan. Hopefully my plastic mantid, along with some other little treasures to even up the trade, will be crossing the same airspace coming in the opposite direction!

Oh, and it turns out that the plastic mantids are part of a huge line of tiny, detailed animal figures sold in Japan inside a hollow chocolate egg. This article explains what Chocoegg is all about, although it is several years old, and after selling bazillions of the popular collectible creatures encased in chocolate shells, they are now doing the same with tiny model cars.
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