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© Romain GARROUSTE / ISYEB / MNHN
Max. size20 x 13.34 cm / 300 dpi
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Photographed in the Massif des Maures, in southeastern France, this voracious praying mantis is devouring its prey, a young common wall gecko (Tarentola mauritanica), a species of gecko well known in the Mediterranean region. Both intraguild predation (between predators exploiting the same resources) and superpredation (in which predators themselves are the prey of other predators) are commonplace. However, arthropod predation of vertebrates, made possible here by the similar sizes of both subjects, is only rarely observed, especially in temperate environments. Interactions of this kind between living organisms are the driving force behind the functioning of ecosystems and evolution. Together with specimens in natural history collections, wildlife photography in the field is key to recording such interactions, providing additional, traceable biological information about the fascinating world of living things. This image is a winner of the 2021 La preuve par l'image (LPPI) competition.