Sunday, October 19, 2008

About 50 species of SE Asia, Australia and New Guinea; many belong to the genus Phyllium.
Features: large to very large, some species over 12 inches long. Eggs seed-like. Larvae more or less resemble adults. All foliage feeders, found in shrubs, tall herbs, trees. Most active at night. Some leaf insects change color with temperature, humidity and light intensity. Leaf insects are incapable of running quickly; they spend most of their time sitting motionless, their long forelegs extended in front of them. However, they would not remain inconspicuous if they remained stationary while their surroundings were moving, as happens when a breeze ruffles the foliage of a tree. The rhythmic side-to-side swaying movement of stick and leaf insects may have evolved for just this reason. Their eggs look very similar to plant seeds. The female usually lays her eggs one at a time, letting them drop to the ground or catapulting them away with a flick of her abdomen.The production of offspring from unfertilized eggs is common among the phasmids. This is known as parthenogenesis and in most species seems to operate as a fail-safe method. Adults are often widely dispersed and, despite the fact that males are usually able to fly and females possibly emit a sex-attractant pheromone, there is a risk that mating might not occur. In a few species, such as the “Laboratory stick insect,” however, parthenogenesis is obligatory—males have never been found. Normally unfertilized eggs develop to become females, but in at least one Australian species (Ctenomorphodes tessulatus) males may be produced as well.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Saint Gabriel: Annunciation to a Leaf Insect

Saint Gabriel the Archangel- March 24PATRON OF CHILDBIRTH, DIPLOMATS, MESSENGERS, POSTAL WORKERS, STAMP COLLECTORS, TELEPHONE AND TELEVISION WORKERSAfter Michael, the second most glorious of all the Heavenly Host, Gabriel has acted throughout history as God’s envoy to humankind. It was he who explained to the imprisoned prophet Daniel, the meaning of his visions, who advised the father of John the Baptist that his barren wife was with child, and who announced the news of her being In the Holy Family Way to the Blessed Virgin (coining, in the process, the most frequently repeated phrase in history, “Hail, Mary”). By tradition it is said that Gabriel led the singing Herald Angels in proclaiming Christ’s birth to the shepherds. Muslims call him Gibrail, and believe he dictated the Koran. Pope Pius XII, in 1951, declared him Patron of everyone employed in the telecommunications industries. Paul VI, in 1982, put mail carriers under his protection—and, by extension, stamp collectors.
Saint Gabriel: Annunciation to a Leaf Insect
was inspired by
Robert Campin's:
Merode Altarpiece

Archangels have wings with colour, the rose at the center is the table, the extinguished candle, the dress draped across the lower right side, the tiny Christ carrying his cross...all have their counterparts in my painting from my garden.