Yesterday I went to go scrape the white paint band off of an old RCW cavity tree when a piece of unpainted bark got up and walked out of the path of my bark knife. Yeah, I was surprised, too. Do you see it?
Here's a better look:
It turns out this piece of legged bark has a name: the Grizzled Mantis (Gonatista grisea). It kept skittering in a quick crab-walk around the trunk as I chased it in circles with my camera. I did manage a few more pictures:
In retrospect, I should've cornered it and harassed it more. The result is this spectacular display.
I hadn't realized there were such crazy-looking mantids in the US. I'll have to dig out and share some pictures of even crazier tropical mantis species that I used to keep.