Mantis: interesting facts, photos, where they live, features, species, what it looks like, what they eat, how long they live

Review author: “ZooVita”

Among the many different insects, the praying mantis stands out especially. This unusual predatory insect belongs to the order of praying mantises, which has about three thousand species. It got its name due to its special hunting position.

When the mantis prepares to attack its prey, it folds its forelimbs like a prayer gesture, which resembles a person praying.

Origin of the name praying mantis

The academic name for the praying mantis was given back in 1758 by the great Swedish naturalist Karl Liney, who drew attention to the fact that the pose of a praying mantis in ambush and guarding its prey is very similar to the pose of a man folding his hands in prayer to God. Because of such striking similarity, the scientist gave the insect the Latin name “Mantis religiosa”, which literally translates as “religious priest”; the name “mantis” itself came into our language.

Although it is not called this way everywhere, our hero also has other, not so blissful names, for example, in Spain he is called Caballito del Diablo - the devil's horse or simply - muerte - death. Such creepy names are obviously associated with the equally creepy habits of praying mantises.

Who does the praying mantis fear?

The main enemies of praying mantises are birds, snakes, lizards, chameleons, some predatory insects and spiders. The praying mantis has several ways to protect itself from them.

First, swaying in an intimidating stance with the forelimbs raised up. With this pose, the praying mantis tries to appear larger in order to scare the offender.

Secondly, a special chirping sound, reminiscent of the hissing of snakes. It is created as a result of the friction of the wings on the abdomen.

Thirdly, there is a bright pattern on the wings, which the mantis spreads widely in case of danger. Some individuals have two dark spots on their wings, reminiscent of the eyes of a predator.

As a rule, the mantis will not be the first to attack a large animal or insect. However, when threatened, it will attempt to defend itself by biting or grabbing the enemy with its spiked front legs. If the attacker is significantly larger than the praying mantis, it is likely to fly away.

Description, structure, characteristics

The structure of the praying mantis is characterized by an elongated body, which distinguishes it from other arthropod insects.

The praying mantis is perhaps the only living creature that can easily turn its triangular-shaped head a full 360 degrees. Thanks to such a useful skill, he can see an enemy approaching from behind. He also has only one ear, but despite this, he has excellent hearing.

The eyes of the praying mantis have a complex faceted structure, located on the sides of the head, but in addition to them, our hero has three more simple eyes above the base of the antennae.

The antennae of mantises are comb-like, feathery or filamentous, depending on the species of the insect.

Mantises, almost all of their species, have well-developed wings, but mainly only males can fly; females, due to their greater weight and size, find it more difficult to fly than males. The wings of praying mantises consist of two pairs: front and rear, the front ones serve as a kind of elytra that protect the hind wings. Also, praying mantis wings usually have bright colors, and sometimes they even have peculiar patterns. But among the many varieties of mantises, there is a kind of earthen mantis (Latin name Geomantis larvoides), which has no wings at all.

Earth mantis.

Mantises have well-developed forelimbs, which have a rather complex structure - each of them consists of many parts: trochanters, femurs, tibiae and tarsi. The bottom of the thigh has large sharp spines arranged in three rows. There are also spines (though smaller ones) on the mantis’s shin, which is decorated with a sharp, needle-like hook at the end. See the picture for an indicative structure of a praying mantis’ foot.

Mantises hold their prey just between the thigh and the lower leg until their meal is over.

The blood circulation of mantises is primitive, but there is a reason for this - an unusual respiratory system.

The oxygen mantis is equipped with a complex system of tracheae connected to dichals (stigmas) on the abdomen in the middle and posterior part of the body. The trachea contains air sacs that enhance ventilation throughout the respiratory system.

Appearance of a praying mantis

The size of mantises varies from 1 to 11 cm. Depending on the species, these insects can differ significantly from each other in color and shape. But the structure of different individuals is mostly the same.

Praying mantises have a movable triangular head, a long elongated body, three pairs of limbs and two pairs of wings. The forelimbs are used for grasping prey, they are covered with spines and resemble a folding pocketknife. The four hind legs are thin and long, designed for locomotion.

Thanks to their green-yellow protective coloration, praying mantises are perfectly camouflaged among plants. Depending on the habitat, there are individuals of other colors: shades of gray and brown, as well as white, pink, orange and black.

What a praying mantis looks like depends largely on its environment. Thus, praying mantises that live and hunt in grass have a thin body, similar to a blade of grass or a stick.

Tropical mantises, on the other hand, have a wide, flat body that resembles a tree leaf.

Orchid mantises are skilled at hiding in flowers due to special lobes on their legs, indistinguishable in shape from orchid petals.


We have already mentioned above that female praying mantises are much larger than males, oddly enough, this is where their main sexual difference manifests itself.

A species of praying mantis, called Ischnomantis gigas in Latin and living in Africa, can reach 17 cm in length; perhaps this representative of the praying mantis kingdom is a real record holder in size.

Ischnomantis gigas is the largest praying mantis in the world.

It is slightly inferior to Heterochaeta orientalis or Heterochaeta eastern, it reaches 16 cm in length. Ordinary mantises are much smaller in size, on average no more than 0.5-1.5 cm in length.

How long does a praying mantis live?

Each species has its own life expectancy. It can vary from 2 to 11 months.

Keeping mantises in captivity increases life expectancy to 1.5 years.


It is no secret that our hero is a notorious predator who loves to feed on both smaller insects and is not afraid to attack larger prey even than himself. Flies eat them,

mosquitoes, bees, wasps, bumblebees, butterflies, beetles, etc. Large representatives of the praying mantis family (see above) can even attack small rodents, birds and small amphibians: frogs, lizards.

Mantises usually attack from an ambush, unexpectedly grab the prey with their front paws and do not let go until they have completely eaten it. Strong jaws allow these gluttons to eat even relatively large prey.

What does a praying mantis eat?

Photo: Female praying mantis

Being a predator, the mantis feeds only on live food and never picks up carrion. These insects are very voracious and need to constantly hunt.

The main diet of adults is:

  • other insects, such as mosquitoes, flies, beetles and bees, and the size of the prey may even exceed the size of the predator;
  • large species are capable of attacking small amphibians, small birds and rodents;
  • very often relatives, including their own offspring, become food.

Cannibalism among mantises is common, and spectacular fights between mantises break out very often.

Interesting fact: Larger and more aggressive females often eat their partners during mating. This happens due to a critical lack of protein necessary for the development of offspring. As a rule, at the very beginning of mating, the female bites off the male’s head, and after the process is completed, she eats him completely. If the female is not hungry, then the future father manages to retreat in time.

These predators do not chase their victims. With the help of their specific color, they effectively camouflage themselves among twigs or flowers and wait for the approach of their prey, rushing at them from ambush with lightning speed. Mantises grab prey with their powerful forelimbs, and then, pinching them between the thigh, equipped with spikes, and the lower leg, they slowly eat the still living creature. The special structure of the oral apparatus and powerful jaws make it possible to literally tear out pieces from the victim’s flesh.

Enemies in nature

Although praying mantises are excellent predator hunters, they themselves can also become prey for snakes, some birds or bats. But the main enemies of mantises, perhaps, are their own relatives - other mantises. Fights to the death between two rival mantises are not uncommon. The fights themselves, both between praying mantises and with other insects, are very spectacular; first of all, the praying mantis seeks to scare its opponent, for this it takes a special frightening pose - it throws its front paws forward and lifts its belly up. All this may be accompanied by corresponding threatening sounds. Such a demonstration of strength is by no means feigned; mantises are desperately brave and bravely rush even at a much larger opponent. Thanks to such courage and bravery, mantises often emerge victorious from such fights.

Mating season

Having noticed the fair half, the male begins to creep up on her much more carefully than on the most dangerous and sensitive prey. The human eye cannot detect his movements. It seems that the insect is not moving at all, but it is gradually approaching the female, trying to come from behind. If the female turns in his direction at this moment, the male freezes in place for a long time, while swaying a little. Biologists believe that these movements are a signal that switches the female's behavior from hunting to love.

This rather peculiar courtship can last up to six hours. It is better for the gentleman to be a little late for this date than to rush a minute. The common mantis breeds at the very end of summer. In Russia, mating occurs from mid-August to early September. The influence of sex hormones provokes an increase in aggressiveness in the behavior of the insect. At this time, cases of cannibalism are common. The main feature of the common praying mantis is that the female devours the male after and sometimes during mating.

There is a version that a male praying mantis cannot copulate if he has a head, so sexual intercourse in insects begins with an unpleasant procedure for the male - the female tears off his head. However, more often mating occurs without victims, but after its completion the female eats the male, and even then only in half of the cases.

As it turned out, she eats her partner not because of her special bloodthirstiness or harmfulness, but because of the great need for protein at the first stage of egg development.


Almost everywhere, since their habitat is very wide: Central and Southern Europe, Asia, North and South America, Africa, Australia. They are only absent in the northern regions, since mantises are not very accustomed to the cold. But they are perfectly suited, for example, to the hot and humid climate of tropical Africa and South America. Praying mantises thrive in tropical forests, steppe regions, and rocky deserts.

They rarely move from place to place, preferring their usual habitat to unknown distant places, the only reason that can prompt them to travel is the lack of food supply.

Why does a female praying mantis eat the male after mating?

Cannibalism among praying mantises is, in principle, natural, but it happens extremely rarely. Eating a partner is not necessary for mating. Since the female is larger and can be very hungry, after the process any food will do for her, but often this does not happen, and the male simply leaves, albeit quickly and quietly, but he leaves.

Types: photos and names

Scientists have counted about 2000 different species of mantises; unfortunately, we will not be able to list them all in our article, but we will describe, in our opinion, the most interesting representatives.

Common praying mantis

The common praying mantis lives in most countries of Europe, Asia, and Africa. The common praying mantis is a very large representative of the praying mantis kingdom, reaching up to 7 cm (female) and 6 cm (male). As a rule, they are green or brown in color, the wings are well developed, at least, flying from branch to branch is not a problem for the common mantis. The abdomen is ovoid. This type of mantis can be distinguished by a black spot, which is located on the coxae of the front pair of legs on the inside.

Chinese mantis

Obviously, the homeland and main habitat of this type of mantis is China. The Chinese mantis is quite large, females reach up to 15 cm in length, but the size of males is much more modest. They have green and brown colors. A characteristic feature of Chinese mantises is their nocturnal lifestyle, while their other relatives still sleep at night. Also, young individuals of Chinese mantises do not have wings, which grow only after several molts, and then they acquire the ability to fly.

Praying mantis Creobroter meleagris

The praying mantis Creobroter meleagris lives in southwest Asia: India, Vietnam, Cambodia and several other countries. Usually reach 5 cm in length. The colors are white and cream. You can recognize them by the light brown stripes that run along the entire body and head. Also on the wings they have one small and one large spot of white or cream color.

Indian flower mantis

The mantis Creobroter gemmatus especially loves the humid forests of southern India, Vietnam and other Asian countries. This species is small, females grow to only 40 mm, males up to 38 mm. The body is more elongated than that of other relatives. And for additional protection, the Indian praying mantis has special spikes of different heights on its hips. Painted in cream colors. Representatives of this species are excellent flyers, both males and females, due to their low weight, and both pairs of wings are well developed. Interestingly, on the front wings they have a spot similar to an eye with two pupils, which scares away predators. Flower mantises live, as their names suggest, in plant flowers, where they guard their prey.

Spiny flower mantis

The same mantis Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii lives in the countries of southern and eastern Africa. In terms of lifestyle and size, it is very similar to the Indian flower mantis. But what is especially interesting is its coloring - it is truly artistic; on the upper pair of wings there is an interesting pattern reminiscent of a spiral or even an eye. The abdomen of this species has additional spines, which give it its name.

Orchid mantis

The orchid mantis is, in our opinion, the most beautiful representative of the mantis world. It also received its name for a reason, namely for its external resemblance to beautiful orchids, on which it actually hides in ambush, waiting for its next victim. Female orchid mantises are exactly twice as large as males: 80 mm versus 40. And orchid mantises, even among other mantises, are distinguished by amazing courage; representatives of this species are not afraid to attack even insects twice their size.

Heterochaete eastern

The oriental heterochaete, or spiny-eyed mantis, is one of the largest mantises in the world (the female reaches 15 cm in length) and lives throughout most of Africa. These mantises live in the branches of bushes; fortunately, their appearance also resembles twigs.

Features and habitat

From the description of the praying mantis insect, it is known that this is a rather large creature from the genus Mantis. The female is always larger than the male. Its body length is about 7.5 cm. The male mantis is 2 cm smaller.

Among them there are giants, reaching a length of up to 18 cm. There are also very tiny creatures, no more than 1 cm. Insects similar to a praying mantis are grasshoppers and cockroaches. But these are only external similarities. In all other respects they are completely different.

The main weapon and main organ of the insect is the forelimbs, with which the mantis grabs food. In addition, the praying mantis can move quickly with the help of its forelimbs.

The hind limbs are intended purely for movement. Insects have wings. Only males use them mainly because females, having large dimensions, fly extremely rarely.

The head of a praying mantis is in the form of a triangle. She is movably connected to his body. He turns his head in different directions and can see over his shoulder without any problems. Which helps him to notice approaching enemies prematurely.

The insect's abdomen resembles an egg and is long. It is soft, consisting of 10 segments, the last of which contains the olfactory organ of insects. Moreover, in females it is much better developed. The insect has only one ear. Regardless of this, his hearing is perfect.

Its large and bulging eyes stand out against the background of its triangular head, this is clearly visible in the photo of the praying mantis . In addition to them, there are three more small eyes; they are located in the area of ​​the antennae. Insect antennae come in several types - in the form of threads, combs and feathers.

The appearance of an insect can be a variety of shades - yellow, gray, dark brown. It depends on the environment. Very often, a motionless praying mantis blends perfectly with nature. So that it is simply impossible to notice. He needs this disguise in order to stalk his prey without any problems.

You can meet these insects in almost all corners of the planet. They are perfectly suited to tropical and subtropical climates. Praying mantises love wet forests and rocky desert areas.

They are comfortable in the steppes and meadows. They prefer to lead a sedentary lifestyle. If everything is in order with food in one place, then they can remain in this territory forever.

Active movement of insects is noticed when they mate. The reason for this may be an insufficient amount of food or the presence of those living creatures that are enemies of mantises. These include birds, chameleons, and snakes.


And here we move on to the most interesting part, namely the reproduction of mantises, which, as a rule, has a sad and tragic end for the males. But let's not get ahead of ourselves, but start in order. With the onset of the mating season (usually in the fall), male praying mantises, using their olfactory organs, begin searching for females ready to mate. Having found one, he performs a special “mating dance” in front of her, which elevates him to the rank of sexual partner. Then the mating process itself begins, during which the female praying mantis has the bad habit of biting off her male’s head and then completely eating him. Some scientists believe that this behavior, which is more than creepy in our opinion, also has its own biological reasons - having eaten her “groom”, the female in this simple way replenishes the reserves of nutritious protein substances necessary for future offspring.

Mantis mating

Although it also happens that the male manages to get away from his “beloved” in time, thereby avoiding the sad fate of food.

After some time, the fertilized female lays eggs, simultaneously enveloping them with a special sticky secretion, which is secreted by their special glands. This secretion serves as a kind of protective capsule for the eggs of future mantises and is called an ooteca. The fertility of a female depends on its species; usually a female is capable of laying from 10 to 400 eggs at a time.

Praying mantis larvae stay in the eggs from three weeks to six months, after which they crawl out of the eggs. Further, their development proceeds at a fairly fast pace and after about 4-8 molts the larva degenerates into an adult mantis.

Character and lifestyle

All species of mantises prefer to live during the day. They have many enemies in nature, from which they prefer not to flee or hide. They simply turn towards the enemy, spread their wings and begin to scream loudly. The sounds are truly threatening; even people are afraid of them.

Why do females eat their partners? The answer to this question has long been found. The fact is that during mating, the female may simply get carried away by the process or confuse the male with some of her prey.

The period of gestation of eggs is typical for females in that they have a great appetite. Their bodies are desperately short of protein, which females take from the most unusual sources, sometimes eating their own kind.

Mating of insects begins with the simple dance of the male. In the process, he secretes an odorous substance, which helps convey to the female that he is from her kind.

Mostly this helps, but since mantises are cannibals, it doesn't always work. The female bites off her gentleman's head, and then simply cannot stop, devouring him all with great pleasure.

These predators have amazing agility. After sitting in ambush for a long time, they can make a sharp leap towards their prey and in a matter of seconds dig into it with their claws. When jumping, they are excellent at controlling their body, which is another distinctive feature of mantises .

Keeping at home


It would be a very exotic and unusual act to get yourself a pet praying mantis, wouldn’t it? However, there are people who have such “pets” and if you also want to join them, then the first thing you will have to take care of is the terrarium. A relatively small glass or plastic terrarium with a mesh lid is suitable; its dimensions should be at least three times the size of the mantis itself. Inside it would be nice to place twigs or small plants on which the praying mantis will climb like trees.


Praying mantises are heat-loving insects, so the optimal temperature for them will be from +23 to +30 C. You can use special heaters for terrariums.


Also, do not forget about humidity, which is also important for these insects. The optimal humidity for praying mantises is 40-60%, and to maintain it, you can place a small container of water inside the terrarium.

What to feed at home

Live food. Perfect fit

crickets, grasshoppers, cockroaches, flies. Some species of praying mantises will not mind eating ants. And at the same time, they need to be fed regularly, so keeping such “pets” can be somewhat troublesome. But you don’t need to give praying mantises water, since they get the liquid the body needs from food.

Where does the praying mantis live?

Photo: Bogomol in Russia

The habitat of mantises is very extensive and covers many countries in Asia, Southern and Central Europe, Africa, and South America. There are numerous populations of mantises in Spain, Portugal, China, India, Greece, and Cyprus. Some species live in Belarus, Tatarstan, Germany, Azerbaijan, and Russia. Predatory insects were introduced to Australia and North America, where they also reproduce successfully.

In tropical and subtropical conditions, mantises live:

  • in forests with high humidity;
  • in rocky deserts warmed by the scorching sun.

In Europe, mantises are common in steppes and spacious meadows. These are heat-loving creatures that do not tolerate temperatures below 20 degrees very well. Recently, some areas of Russia have periodically been subjected to real invasions of praying mantises, which migrate from other countries in search of food.

Mantises change their habitat very rarely. Having chosen one tree or even a branch, they remain on it all their lives if there is enough food around. Insects actively move only during the mating season, in the presence of danger or in the absence of the required number of objects for hunting. Praying mantises thrive in terrariums. The most comfortable ambient temperature for them is 25-30 degrees with a humidity of at least 60 percent. They do not drink water, since they get everything they need from food. Under natural conditions, some more aggressive and powerful species can displace smaller ones, even to the point of complete extermination in a certain area.

Interesting fact: In a number of regions of South Asia, predatory mantises are specially bred in artificial conditions as an effective weapon against malaria mosquitoes and other insects that carry dangerous infectious diseases.

Now you know where the praying mantis lives. Let's find out what the insect eats.

Interesting Facts

  • One of the styles of Chinese martial arts wushu is named after the praying mantis; according to legend, this style was invented by a Chinese peasant watching mantises hunt.
  • At one time, in the Soviet Union they wanted to industrially use praying mantises as biological protection against pests of agricultural plants. True, this idea had to be abandoned, since the praying mantises also ate beneficial insects, including bees.
  • Since ancient times, praying mantises have been frequent heroes of various myths and legends among African and Asian peoples; for example, in China they personified stubbornness and greed, and the ancient Greeks attributed to them the ability to predict the coming of spring.
  • TOP 10: Amazing facts about praying mantises

    Mantises are incredible creatures. In this article, you will learn a lot about these jock insects that make Alien vs. Predator such a cute cartoon. Find out what these hunting masters are capable of and be inspired by the greatness of this invertebrate. Praying mantises are amazing because they can pretend to be a flower, eat a bird, or go fishing. 10. They eat birds

    Praying mantises are voracious hunters. In fact, they can grab prey that is significantly larger than themselves, which is incredible for an insect - even a large one. The mantis's strength and speed allow it to perform incredibly difficult kills that are unavailable to many other hunting species. Did you know that these insects killed and ate birds, bats and frogs? Praying mantises eat birds, and this is a fairly widespread practice. Everywhere on Earth except Antarctica, praying mantises have been caught hunting birds.

    National Geographic published notes from the Wilson Journal of Ornithology regarding 147 cases of praying mantises eating birds in 13 different countries. These horrific attacks involved 12 species of praying mantises and 24 species of birds. Hummingbirds were popular targets: despite their speed, an ambushed praying mantis could easily deal with the bird, thanks to its small size. It's scary that the praying mantis eats the bird, starting from the head. Hungry insects pierced the birds' heads and ate their brains. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology concludes that the popular practice of purchasing mantises and then releasing them for pest control should be approached with great caution (especially for large species) given the threat posed to the birds.

    9. Some praying mantises look like flowers

    Mantises appear green to us, but their means of camouflage proves that evolution is incredible. For example, some of the most fearsome and ferocious species of praying mantis look like a flower.

    The orchid mantis Hymenopus coronatus has to be seen to be believed. This may be the most shocking case of aggressive mimicry on the planet. Orchid mantises do not camouflage themselves to blend in with other flowers. The truth is much more sinister. Rather, they appear to be a flower that is particularly attractive to prey than other flowers, and therefore have a greater ability to kill.

    Native to the forests of Southeast Asia, orchid mantises are uncommon and were initially misidentified. During his visit to West Java in 1879, James Hingston, a traveling writer, thought he had found a carnivorous plant, describing the mantis as follows (not knowing anything about the fact that the deadly "flower" was a ferocious insect): " my kind host takes me around his garden and shows me, among other things, a flower, a red orchid, which catches and feeds on live flies. In my presence, he grabbed the butterfly and enclosed it in his beautiful but deadly leaves, just as a spider would envelop it in its web.”

    8. Date and lunch

    Yes, the love life of mantises is not really about a happily ever after. Often it's more like, "I loved you, I mated with you, and then I ate you." At least often enough to regularly make headlines in natural history. Queen predation of a male praying mantis is more common in the laboratory than in the wild, but there is still a biological basis for the behavior. This allows the female to obtain nutrient-rich food that helps in egg production, meaning that even the eaten male can "enjoy" a better chance of passing on his genes by sacrificing his body to do so. The female gains significantly in this case.

    The study, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, shows that females who eat males lay 51 more eggs than those who treat males more favorably. Plus 51 eggs is a 25 percent increase in the normal egg clutch. In addition, male characteristics were more pronounced in young females that consumed males. Why? Because being eaten by a female means that 17.7 percent more of the male's amino acids and associated biological substances end up in her ovaries and eggs, making him more "pronounced" in the next generation.

    7. Death from a “dead leaf”

    A dead leaf can turn out to be a deadly mantis. No, really. Among the dead leaves on the ground in a tropical forest in Southeast Asia, there may be a praying mantis deroplatys lobate, which is called a "dead leaf." This species of mantis is equipped with all the possible "weapons" of a mantis, but its flattened body parts make it look like a fallen leaf. The chest of this mantis is flatter than normal, while the wings are flat and wide. There are also spots, like on a leaf. Then spots and specks appear, reminiscent of mold on a rotting leaf. Finally, the wings are decorated with the veins that a normal leaf would have, which tricks potential prey into ensuring that the last thing it sees in life will be a leaf.

    Underneath it all are sharp spines on the front legs, ideal for bringing down prey with lightning speed. In captivity, this mantis is difficult to reproduce; it is very picky about living conditions, especially humidity and temperature.

    6. They grow to incredible sizes

    Praying mantises, especially stick insects, can reach enormous weight and length. Some mantises are notable for their mass and generally enormous size, but are not the longest. Other mantises are thinner, but hold the record for length. Giant mantises of the genus Rhombodera can reach a length of 13 cm, which gives them a good advantage in hunting. But they are short compared to the stick insect.

    Stick mantises are smaller but make up for this by reaching an incredible length of just under 20cm, possibly more. Giant representatives of the genus Toxodera are found in Asian countries. In Africa, giant stick insects of the genus Heterochaeta can reach a length of 15 cm. These are quite large insects.

    5. They Have Unique, Superior Vision

    Praying mantises have exceptional vision not only for the insect world, but for the entire animal kingdom. The study, published in the journal Current Biology, explains that praying mantises have a great advantage in hunting, which requires exceptional depth perception for precise strikes from varying distances. Praying mantis vision is a special type of 3D perception of the environment, especially potential food, thanks to its huge eyes, which have been the subject of much research. Stereoscopic vision is possessed by a statistical minority of animal species, including most mammals (among them humans) and a number of birds, which includes owls, but mantises are amazing for two reasons.

    Firstly, an insect with such developed vision is unique in itself. Secondly, the type of stereoscopic vision in mantises is different. Thanks to stereoscopic vision, humans perceive two still images with minor differences as one three-dimensional image, but mantises' stereoscopic vision is dependent on movement. Information about a moving object is converted into a three-dimensional image, but stationary objects are not distinguished. To study the vision of mantises, 3D glasses were placed on their eyes, allowing scientists to calculate their perceptual abilities using “movies” of their prey.

    4. They are relatives of termites and cockroaches

    The praying mantises form their own troop. But they are relatives of cockroaches and termites. Praying mantises belong to the order Mantodea, while cockroaches and termites belong to the order Blattodea. Both species are within the superorder Dictyoptera.

    These beings are on opposite ends of the spectrum of human love, but they are certainly related groups.

    3. They go fishing

    Yes, this happens. Is this insects' revenge for fly fishing? A man who had guppies and a praying mantis was surprised to discover that praying mantises could eat fish, namely guppies. The journal Orthoptera Research published a story about a praying mantis that effectively "speared" a fish before eating it.

    Lead study author Roberto Battiston, an Italian entomologist, noted the history of the fishing mantis when study co-author Nivek Manjunath sent him photos of a male Asian giant mantis eating a fish. The photos were taken by conservationist Rajesh Puttaswamaiah, who encountered this behavior in a rooftop garden in Karnataka, India. The study's co-authors monitored the pond to see fishing activity and obtained several confirmations. The fishing antics were proof of mantises' ability to learn new things to find food.

    2. They Inspired Kung Fu Style

    Some of the most interesting styles of Chinese kung fu come from Shandong in Northern China, while another form of kung fu comes from the Hakka people in Southern China and is directly related to the graceful but ferocious Chinese praying mantis. The origin of the Seven Star Mantis Fist style is linked to Shaolin Kung Fu student Wong Long, who lived in the 17th century. He competed seriously with his elder, Monk Feng, who always surpassed him in sparring during training.

    Wanting to improve his kung fu skills, he gained valuable insights from the insect world, which added significantly to the kung fu repertoire. While traveling in China for three years, Wong witnessed a successful attack on cicadas by mantises. Mantis used agility and brutal strikes to destroy her. Wong didn't just watch, he fought the mantis itself with a stick and was impressed by the counter-strikes the insect produced. Wong noted the movements of the praying mantis and, as best he could, “translated” them into human movements. He classified 12 principles of hand movement. Combining monkey-inspired footwork, Wong easily defeated Feng upon his return.

    1. They were named after prophets

    What does the common name "mantis" mean? It is a general descriptive name used to refer to more than 2,500 species of these insects, it has religious significance and consists of two parts. The "maul" refers to the folded forearms of the praying mantis, lying awaiting prey, reminiscent of a person praying.

    The term Mantid comes from the Greek mantikos, which is the Greek word for prophet or soothsayer. This Greek name was chosen by the German-Argentine zoologist Karl Hermann Konrad Burmeister in 1838. In a number of traditional societies, praying mantises were treated with a respect rarely shown by humans towards insects. The Latin name for the European praying mantis, Mantis religiosa, is further evidence of the spiritual perception of these special creatures.


    And in conclusion, we bring to your attention an interesting popular science film about praying mantises.

    Author: Pavel Chaika, editor-in-chief of Poznavaika magazine

    When writing the article, I tried to make it as interesting, useful and high-quality as possible. I would be grateful for any feedback and constructive criticism in the form of comments on the article. You can also write your wish/question/suggestion to my email [email protected] or Facebook, with respect, the author.

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    Praying Mantis – an Alien Insect.

    How do they reproduce?

    Mantises have an incomplete metamorphosis cycle and sexual dimorphism. Most species (mostly tropical) are able to reproduce throughout their entire year of life. In other species, the mating season falls in the fall.

    The male begins searching for a female to mate with. Having found her, he performs a ritual dance. After this, the mating process takes place. Many people know about the female praying mantis at this stage. After fertilization, the female praying mantis eats her partner, after biting off his head.

    This happens for various reasons. Scientists suggest that the female replenishes protein in her body in this way for future offspring. Interestingly, some species of mantises do not kill males after mating. Also, the female can lay eggs without fertilization if she has enough nutrition. Each egg will hatch into a larva ( mantis nymph ).

    Females prefer not to fly

    For hours, and sometimes even days, the praying mantis sits without moving.
    It fits perfectly into the environment, so the chance of noticing it is minimal. Despite its perfectly developed wings, the praying mantis moves very slowly, and if we talk about flying, it does it very poorly. A slowly flying insect, which can be seen from afar, is an easy prey for birds, so the praying mantis does not fly unless absolutely necessary, and females generally fly only in the most extreme cases - this is too risky . They are larger than males in size, and their wings are rather weak.

    It got its name because of the structure of its legs.

    Mantises have interestingly folded front legs. When the insect is motionless, its legs are raised and folded in such a way that they resemble a pose in prayer . But in fact, at this moment he is not praying at all, but hunting...

    The praying mantis is indeed a very bloodthirsty creature - it could well be called a killer or even a cannibal. During its hunt, it sits motionless, with its front leg extended forward. It looks like a trap - and that's what it is.

    At any second, the praying mantis can grab an insect that passes by. Sharp serrations on the inside of the legs help this bloodthirsty creature hold its prey.


    Thirty days later, larvae emerge from the eggs. There are small spikes on their surface that help them get out of the capsule. After this, the larvae molt. Later they shed their skin and become similar to adults, but without wings. The larva of the common mantis is very mobile, it has a protective coloring.

    In most areas of distribution of these insects, the larvae hatch in late April - early May. In two and a half months they molt five times. Only after this do they become adult insects. The process of puberty lasts two weeks, then the males begin to look for their other half for mating. Mantises live in natural conditions for two months. The males die first. After mating, they no longer look for prey, become very lethargic and quickly die. They live only until September, and females survive them for a month. Their age ends in October.

    Benefits and harms for humans

    Despite their aggressive behavior, praying mantises do not pose a danger to humans . Even despite the large size of some members of the family.

    Mantis Spikes

    The only harm a praying mantis can do to an adult is to injure it with its claws. For this reason, you should not allow small children near praying mantises . The character of insects is far from ideal.

    Predators are useful for agriculture as they eat many agricultural pests. In Africa, praying mantises are brought into houses where they eat flies. However, praying mantises are insatiable - they can destroy beneficial insects like bees.


    The common mantis, a photo of which you can see in this article, lays eggs in ootecae. This is a special form of laying, characteristic of mollusks and cockroaches. It consists of horizontal rows of eggs, of which there can be two or more.

    The female fills them with a foamy protein substance, which, when hardened, forms a capsule. Typically, up to 300 eggs are laid. The capsule has a fairly solid structure that easily sticks to plants or stones, protecting the egg from external influences.

    Optimal humidity and temperature are maintained inside the capsule. In the ooteca, eggs cannot die even at temperatures down to -18 °C. In temperate latitudes, the eggs overwinter, and in the southern regions the incubation period is a month.

    Ancient Egyptians worshiped praying mantises

    Praying mantises are quite ancient insects that have become famous for their fearless nature and unusual appearance. In Ancient Egypt, this amazing insect left its mark in the form of an image on the tomb of the ancient Egyptian pharaoh - Ramesses II.

    Religious Egyptians even mummified them. The praying mantis had the right to his sarcophagus and the afterlife . Archaeologists opened such a sarcophagus in 1929, but the mummy disintegrated too quickly, but remained in the photographs.

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