Mantid, Frog and an Odd Fruit in Mid-November

Top Photo: Butterfly House volunteer and insect lover Daniel holds mantid which, itself, had just captured a cabbage white butterfly.

It’s mid-November and insects are still active. In fact, Butterfly House Volunteer Daniel was out exploring the Butterfly House Outdoor Garden here at the museum when he came across three on-the-prowl mantids. One of them had just captured a cabbage white butterfly (above photo).

Daniel showing off his prizes. The mantid in his right hand chews into a cabbage white butterfly.

Volunteer Sam reveled in letting one of the mantids crawl up her arm.

What’s more fun than letting a large insect crawl up your arm?

I’ve seen bullfrogs in the water when ice is present in the wetlands, so it was no surprise to see a large male at the water’s edge in mid November among recently fallen leaves.

Larger than the eye tympanic membrane (ear drum) indicates a male bullfrog.
Nipplefruit is mostly for decoration.

Nipplefruit is growing in the vegetable garden next to the outdoor seating of the cafe. A nightshade, it’s in the same family as eggplant, potato and tomato. It’s a tropical plant originally from South America but now occurs in many areas around the tropical world.

The unripe fruit is considered by some to be edible, the ripe fruit, definitely not. It’s essentially an ornamental plant grown almost entirely for the peculiar shape of its fruit. Various names given to the fruit include cow’s udder, fox head, apple of Sodom, five-fingered eggplant and many others. It looks to me like a cow’s head. The scientific name is Solanum mammosum.

I’ve read several accounts of the plant leaves and fruit being used for medicinal purposes for the treatment of everything from hemorrhoids to skin problems and toothaches to asthma. The juice of the fruit has also been used as a detergent.

Reminiscent of a cow’s head.

There’s always something fun to see outdoors, but you have to be out there to see it.

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