Therefore, the âItalian Oasis Photographerâ award has been assigned to Michele Zanotti, born in Ghedi (province of Brescia). The Landscape category ranking will be updated accordingly.
The Oasis Photo Contest Organization had asked a committee of influential botanists and entomologists to examine the formerly winning image and to judge it by the only recognizable elements (the mantis and the musk). Their answer, reported here below, states that no elements in the image could lead to the conclusion that the photo was taken out of the mantis original environment – even though the mantis was out of its usual habitat.
Scientific committee answer
The mantis portrayed in the photo is a sub-adult male of Gongylus gongylodes (Linnaeus, 1758), a species common in India, Java, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand. This species, also known as wandering violin mantis, itâs an Asian mantis often kept as a pet and it is very easy to find in Italy at specialist fairs. The musk is not in a natural position but it looks like someone has put it on purpose. The musk species cannot be clearly recognized from the image; it could be Brachythecium or Eurhynchium. Both those musk species live in Sri Lanka, so we cannot exclude that the photo has been taken in Sri Lanka. Anyway, the presence of the mantis on the musk is artificial, since the mantis cannot camouflage on it.
Prof. Michele Aleffi, botanist specializing in bryology; Camerino University.
Dott. Roberto Battiston, entomologist; Canal di Brenta Museum.
Dott. Giovanni Carotti, entomologist; Appennino Tosco Emiliano National Park contributor.