"Pipeline Mantis (Petromutatus mantidae var. mexicana)" ~Copper Weathervane~

"Pipeline Mantis (Petromutatus mantidae var. Mexicana)" ~Copper Weathervane, October 2014~

One of the more exotic-looking members of the Petromutatus genus, the Pipeline Mantis was discovered in Mexico by Pemex employees inspecting an oil pipeline near Xalapa, Veracruz. It is considered an invasive pest species by oil companies because it damages pipelines and robs them of substantial product. For this reason, oil executives often refer to large swarms of this creature as "Claim Jumpers."

This mantis-like "petrosect," thought to be a remnant species of the extinct praying mantis and/or grasshopper, uses its powerful claws--capable of clamping pressures up to 30,000 psi--to grasp onto and puncture pipelines up to 36 inches in diameter. It sucks oil through a long proboscis that also injects a highly corrosive substance similar to nitric acid. Mature specimens can reach lengths up to 9 feet and are capable of consuming as much as 12 barrels of oil per day (bopd).

Like many petromutants, Petromutatus mantidae has a robust metabolism and can also handle natural gas pipelines--even butanes, pentanes, and heptanes. Excess gases are flared through four rudimentary "spinestacks" along the creature's back.

This species is sometimes referred to as "Metallurgist's Nightmare" because it wreaks havoc on pipelines, and no exotic pipeline alloys have been developed by perplexed metallurgists that can withstand its powerful claws and the corrosive effects of its proboscis. These petromutants roost and nest around pipeline compressor stations. Their droppings are highly corrosive and cause damage to safety relief valves and compressors.

The Pipeline Mantis is common along the Texas-Mexico border, particularly in the Rio Grande Valley. It prefers a subtropical climate, but its range is rapidly expanding into the U.S., and substantial swarms have been reported as far north as Wichita, Kansas.

(Notes: My latest metallurgical nightmare, this original one-off weathervane is the third installment in my MutaGenesis--A Field Guide to the Petromutants of Texas series--a hypothetical look at the future of the environment, featuring "hydrocarbonivorous petromutants," illustrated with original one-off copper weathervanes.
Copper weathervane, 22" length x 18" height x 12" wingspan; copper/silver-bismuth alloy.)

This copper weathervane is for sale. Contact me for information

Designated a Texas Original by The Texas Commission on the Arts

Description text and images Copyright © 2001-2015 David Smith

Home | Sculpture | Painting | The Artist | Available Works | Copper Facts | Contact